Secretary of Ag Answers Questions on NAFTA & More

Caroline Beck
April 30, 2017

President Trump welcomed new Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on his first day in office for a White House "Farmers Roundtable" where animal agriculture sat center stage and the signing of an Executive Order establishing an Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity.

"Farmers and ranchers in Kansas and across the country count on the USDA to assist with much-needed research, promote American products overseas to increase market access, provide rural housing services, and maintain the crucial safety net that empowers our agricultural producers to succeed", Moran said.

"With the rapidly aging farm population and the future of rural economies at stake, now is a critical time for leadership", says National Young Farmers Coalition executive director and co-founder Lindsey Lusher Shute, who is herself a young farmer. You can read the full "Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America" executive order here.

Perdue said that on balance NAFTA has been positive for USA agriculture, particularly grain producers, but that the Trump administration thinks it can be improved. Sonny Perdue was finally sworn in on Monday as the new secretary of agriculture, and it didn't take him long to get to work. "From growing up on a farm to being governor of a big agriculture state, he has spent his whole life understanding and solving the challenges our farmers face, and he is going to deliver big results for all Americans who earn their living off the land". "I believe that USDA is doing a good job and they have great career employees but I'm not satisfied with just doing good - we want to do great".

"I was all set to terminate", Trump said Thursday, but changed his mind shortly after looking at the map.

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Overall NAFTA has been good for farmers, Perdue said, but there are areas that need to be reevaluated.

"NPPC and America's pork producers look forward to working with Secretary Perdue". This week, President Donald Trump backed off reported intentions to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement, choosing instead to renegotiate with Canada and Mexico.

The roundtable consisted of 14 members of America's agricultural community, including Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Hank Choate from Cement City, Missouri and Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Furthermore, Mexico, which has bristled at Trump's harsh talk on trade and his call for scrapping or renegotiating NAFTA, has threatened to stop importing billions of dollars' worth of United States corn.

After Perdue, remaining nominees for Trump's Cabinet to be confirmed are Robert Lighthizer for US trade representative and Alexander Acosta for labor secretary. He said that he understands how important it is for farmers to be viable in the marketplace and it was encouraging to hear him tell Secretary Perdue that, with respect to immigration enforcement, workers who are here and have not caused any problems, but have been productive workers, should not have anything to fear.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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