Trump used most of his speech to discuss the tax cuts recently passed by Congress. “The American dream is roaring back to life,” Trump said.
He noted American businesses, including farmers, will be able to deduct 100 percent of new equipment costs in the year the investment is made instead over a period of years. Additionally, most family farms “…will be spared the punishment of the deeply unfair estate tax…so that you can keep your farms in the family.”
But many attendees are most concerned about the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The president has threatened to pull out of the agreement with Canada and Mexico, a move many in the industry say could negatively impact the food and agriculture industries in the United States. Regarding trade, Trump said his administration is reviewing all trade agreements to make sure “…they are fair and reciprocal…” The sixth round of NAFTA negotiations were scheduled for Jan. 23-28, 2018, in Montreal.
Trump added that he is looking forward to passing a Farm Bill — on time — that includes crop insurance “…unless you don’t want me to,” he said.
And he continued to talk tough on immigration, saying “We are going to end chain migration, we are going to end the lottery system and we are going to build the wall.”
Part of Trump’s agenda relates to the need to help rural communities prosper. He signed two executive orders to expand broadband access in rural America. He also urged adoption of recommendations developed by the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity, with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue serving as chairman. The recommendations encompass economic development, innovation and technology, supporting the rural workforce and improving the quality of life in rural communities.
Also attending the AFBF convention was Canadian Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay. While in Nashville, MacAulay participated in a roundtable with US agriculture producer and business groups; met with Zippy Duvall, AFBF president, Kevin Paap, Minnesota State Farm Bureau president and with Jai Templeton, commissioner of agriculture for Tennessee, to discuss bilateral trade opportunities.
“The Canada-US relationship is strong, balanced and beneficial to both of our great nations,” MacAulay said in a statement. “The government of Canada is committed to continue working with the United States to strengthen our partnership for the good of our businesses, our jobs, our citizens and our economies.”