May 8, 2017
Many reports show that President Donald Trump’s ratings are at historical lows for his first 100 days in office, however, for agriculture he does have some significant actions in his first days in office. Here's a look at the top 10 actions he's taken impacting agriculture.
WOTUS repeal: An executive order to repeal or reissue the waters of the U.S. rule was a huge accomplishment for the early days of an Administration promising a more practical, farmer-friendly Environmental Protection Agency. Last week EPA sent a proposal to the White House Office of Management & Budget to repeal WOTUS, in accordance with that executive order.
EPA rejects chlorpyirfos-ban petition: Trump’s new EPA decided to deny a petition sought by environmental groups to ban an important pest management tool. The insecticide chlorpyrifos is used on at least 40,000 farms in the U.S. and on 50 different types of crops. “If that was taken off the market without an alternative solution, that would have been dollars coming out of the backs of farmers because of the damage done to those crops,” said Ray Starling, special ag advisor to the President.
Interagency task force established: Deregulation has been a priority for the Trump Administration since day 1, and that was elevated to a new level recently when the President signed an executive order that calls for a 180-day review of regulations that affect agriculture. The Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity will examine the intersecting challenges with EPA, the U.S. Department of Interior and DOL as well as other agencies and look for which regulations make sense and the end goal of those regulations. Trump’s early days in office also put a hold on several key regulations impacting agriculture including the Organic Livestock Standards rule and GIPSA.
Farmers get a seat at the table. It’s been since the Reagan years when farmers were asked to come to the table with the President so early in his tenure. On April 25, Trump hosted a roundtable discussion with 15 farmers. President Trump and Secretary Perdue a variety of topics, including agricultural trade, regulatory reform, rural investment and infrastructure, labor issues, and the Farm Bill.
Signs National Ag Day proclamation. For the first time in 16 years, the President made an official proclamation for National Agriculture Day on March 21, although it has been declared so by the secretary of agriculture and others in past years. National Agriculture Day is set aside to pay tribute to the farmers and ranchers. Starling said after signing that proclamation Trump stated, “I love my farmers” and told Starling how he recognized “farming is tough” and is a tough way to make a living. Starling said the President understands agriculture is important and is a “willing cheerleader” for the industry.
Trump states importance of ag trade. Trump’s National Ag Day statement also recognized the strong role U.S. agriculture plays in trade, giving it credit for being the largest positive contributor of the nation’s net trade balance, generating 10% of exports and millions of American jobs. His first day of office killed 8 years of negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a huge blow to many in agriculture who felt it would indeed provide additional market access for U.S. products.
Holds off on NAFTA withdraw, for now. President’s Trump’s tough rhetoric on trade, and especially the North American Free Trade Agreement, has everyone on edge. But his promise not to terminate NAFTA “at this time” gave many a sign of relief after reports indicated the worst was coming on April 26. For months the U.S. dairy industry has been asking for attention to the Canadian dairy industry’s requested policies which offer incentives to Canadian ultra-filtered milk and has shut the doors on U.S. dairy exports of the products. In April that message was heard, and President Donald Trump promised a “solution” to another trade barrier erected against U.S. producers. Trump said in a speech at a Snap-On plant in Kenosha, Wis. “What's happened to you is very, very unfair. It's another typical one-sided deal against the United States, and it's not going to be happening for long.”
Tax plan includes full estate tax repeal. Top officials in the Trump Administration recently released theirproposal for comprehensive tax reform, calling it the “biggest tax cut in U.S. history.” Specifically, the proposal looks to cut taxes and simplify the tax code by reducing the current seven tax brackets used today to only three brackets: a 10% bracket, a 25% bracket and a 35% bracket. The plan is designed to serve as the starting point as Congress and the Administration work to pass a comprehensive tax reform package this year. Unlike previous proposals that set a phase-out date for the estate tax, this proposal would “phase out the death tax immediately” when the proposal becomes effective. Eliminating the estate tax has been a top priority for many agricultural groups.
BLM Planning 2.0 rule rolled back. In line with promises to rollback regulations, Congress sent a resolution to President Trump in March to overturn the Bureau of Land Management’s Planning 2.0 rule. Under the Congressional Review Act, the U.S. House and Senate have up to 60 legislative days after a new rule becomes final to approve a joint resolution of disapproval, which will fully repeal the final rule if and when the resolution becomes law. The rule was criticized by stakeholder groups including the American Farm Bureau Federation and Public Lands Council because it would represent a wholesale shift in management focus at BLM by prioritizing “social and environmental change” over ensuring multiple use of public lands, and by eliminating stakeholder and local input into the planning process.
National monument designations under review. President Trump also signed an executive order to review national monument designations, a paramount issue to Western landowners who have seen 265 million acres of land come under federal control during the Obama Administration. “That’s larger than the entire state of Texas,” Trump said. In December of last year alone, the federal government asserted this power over 1.35 million acres of land in Utah, known as Bears Ears. A recommendation on Bears Ears is expected in 45 days from the announcement.
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