In the first presidential address to the American Farm Bureau Federation in more than 25 years, President Donald Trump on Monday said farmers have been big beneficiaries of some of the changes in the political environment over the last year, most notably reductions in regulations and tax reform.
Trump said, since being elected, “We have been working to deliver for American farmers, just as they are at work every single day to deliver for us.”
“The American dream is roaring back to life,” Trump said, starting with the “$5.5 trillion in tax cuts, with most of those benefits going to working families.” As a result, he said, “Americans will be paying less in taxes and keeping more of their own money.”
Tailoring his message to his farmer audience, Trump said the “sleeper in the bill” is the ability for American farmers to deduct 100% of the cost of new equipment in the year the investment made. “That is a tremendous thing,” he said of the ability to deduct it all in one year as opposed to over many years.
He received standing applause from the nearly 4,000 members in attendance due to the tax reform bill's inclusion of an increase in the estate tax exemptions. “From now on, most family farms will be spared the punishment of the deeply unfair estate tax so you can keep your farms in your families,” he said.
“Obviously, you love your families; otherwise, you wouldn’t be standing,” Trump said with a smile. “It’s not going to help you much, but will help them a lot.” This comment garnered additional applause.
Trump also touted his Administration’s actions to cancel or delay more than 1,500 “planned regulatory actions or assaults” across the government, noting that it is more than any President in the history of the U.S.
“As we put more money into the pockets of all Americans, including farmers and ranchers, we are also putting an end to the regulatory assault on your way of life. It was an assault indeed,” Trump said. “For years, many of you have endured burdensome fines, inspections, needless paperwork and relentless intrusion from any army of regulators from the (Environmental Protection Agency, Food & Drug Administration) and countless other federal agencies.”
He said he promised to eliminate two regulations for every one new one, but in his first 11 months in office, 22 regulations have actually been eliminated for every one new one. The one most popular with farmers was the EPA waters of the U.S. rule. “We ditched the rule,” he said to the members of the organization that led the charge to “Ditch the Rule” when it came out in 2015.
Although events earlier in the Farm Bureau convention highlighted farmers’ support for trade, Trump mentioned only briefly that his Administration is reviewing all of the trade agreements to ensure that they are fair and reciprocal, reiterating that they are reciprocal and saying it is so important.
In North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations, Trump said, “I am working very hard to get a better deal for our country and our farmers and our manufacturers,” but he added that with Canada and Mexico making all that money, it is not the easiest negotiation.
Also on Monday, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue gave his recommendations from the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture & Rural Prosperity. The task force heard from farmers that broadband internet access is an issue of vital concern to their communities and businesses. In an effort to expand access to broadband internet in rural America, Trump signed two presidential orders to provide broader, faster — and better — internet coverage.
The first of these two orders instructs the U.S. Department of the Interior to dedicate a portion of its assets for rural broadband installation. The second order will streamline the installation process by requiring agencies to use standardized forms and contracts for installing antennas on federal buildings, thus improving process efficiency.