Trump Says Strong Energy Production Crucial For American Farmers
President Donald Trump addressed the American Farm Bureau Federation on Sunday in Austin, Texas highlighting his administration’s work on new trade agreements, strong economic growth and the crucial role that reliable, affordable energy plays for the agriculture sector.
The administration has made energy a key focus, specifically the oil and natural gas sector that’s seen record production in recent years. Trimming regulations along with increased innovation has boosted output and the U.S. hit new highs in 2018 to become the global leaders, according to the Energy Information Administration
Speaking at the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention, Trump said energy production has been a boon to American agriculture and warned that opponents of oil and gas who want to shut down the industry would only hurt farmers and ranchers through increased prices and lower royalties.
“Left-wing politicians want to shut down oil and gas production in the United States. And if they succeed, they will cost our farmers and ranchers billions of dollars per year in royalty payments alone,” Trump said. “But more importantly, you’re not going to be able to afford the energy that you need to run your farms. We will never let it happen.”
Trump rejected criticism that he’s been a poor steward of the environment, citing that he trusts the farmers because it’s in their self-interest to ensure their property is taken care of and is producing robust harvests in the future.
“There are no better stewards of our precious natural resources than the American farmers who depend on the land and the environment for their very livelihood. You love your land. You’re going to take care of your land. You don’t need some bureaucrat in Washington telling everybody what the hell to do with your land. You love your land,” Trump said.
“When it comes to the environment, I will always trust a farmer over a Washington bureaucrat or a left-wing extremist,” he continued.
Cutting regulations has delivered Trump some his biggest successes and he touted those wins to the Farm Bureau. Trump specifically cited the repeal of the Obama-era Waters of the United States rule which has proven to be especially burdensome to farmers because isolated ponds and streams can be regulated as part of the Clean Water Act.
Western Wire has previously covered the Environmental Protection Agency’s two-step action to repeal and replace the rule.
Trump also cited his recent proposal to reform the National Environmental Policy Act governing the environmental assessments of infrastructure projects, aiming to dramatically reduce the timeline of approvals. Highway construction and other transportation networkers are crucial for farmers moving goods to market.
“But our proposals will limit the process to two years — and, in many cases, less than one year. … We will soon build new roads, bridges, tunnels, highways, railways, and waterways across our land,” Trump said.
Trade was also featured prominently Trump’s remarks.
On the heels of a signing a new trade agreement with China earlier in the week, Trump said the new deal increase exports for American farmers.
“Under this landmark agreement, China will now be purchasing $40 to $50 billion of American agricultural products every single year, tripling our agricultural exports to China,” Trump.
He then applauded the U.S. Senate approving a new North American trade deal, saying, “The ‘USMCA,’ as we call it, will massively boost exports for farmers, ranchers, growers, and agricultural producers from North to South, and from sea to shining sea. It also has tremendous impacts on manufacturers and all of the other things — good for everybody.”
A strong economy and revised trade policies have helped pushed Trump’s approval among farmers to the highest level of his tenure.
The trade publication Farm Journal’s monthly tracker showed Trump’s overall approval rating stands at 83% while 64% strongly approve among farmers and ranchers polled.
“Of note is the strongly approve category went up three percentage points from an already lofty (December) number and his highest overall approval ratings ever,” Pro Farmer policy analyst Jim Wiesemeyer said. “That says the president’s approval is rock-solid. With the recent upbeat news on USMCA and the Phase 1 accord with China, the ratings will likely remain firm ahead.”