NFU: President Trump’s SOTU Ignores Dire Economic Conditions in Farm Country
On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump gave his second annual State of the Union Address.
In the 82-minute-long speech, President Trump touted his administration’s work on a broad range of issues that affect agricultural and rural communities, including tax reform, immigration, the farm bill, trade negotiations, opioid misuse, and infrastructure. On most of these issues – excluding immigration – his comments were overwhelmingly positive.
In particular, he boasted about his ongoing crusade to overhaul international trade relationships. “After years of targeting our industries and stealing our intellectual property, the theft of American jobs and wealth has come to an end,” he said, adding that tariffs on Chinese imports have brought in “billions and billions of dollars” in revenue.
He also praised the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which is intended to replace the North Atlantic Fair Trade Agreement (NAFTA), saying it will “deliver for American workers like they haven’t had delivered to for a long time.” He urged Congress to quickly pass USMCA “so that we can bring back our manufacturing jobs in even greater numbers, expand American agriculture, protect intellectual property, and ensure that more cars are proudly stamped with our four beautiful words: ‘Made in the USA.'”
However, these glowing remarks largely ignore the reality that most American farmers and ranchers face on a daily basis. “The reality is that the downward trend in the farm economy has only worsened over the last two years, leaving many farmers and ranchers in significant financial stress,” said National Farmers Union Vice President of Public Policy and Communications Rob Larew in a statement. He added that most of the difficulties that farmers are enduring have been exacerbated by President Trump’s international trade war. “To tout progress with China or USMCA as a win is misleading – you can’t dig a ten-foot hole, fill it up with a foot of dirt and call that a win.”
To improve conditions in agricultural communities, Larew urged President Trump to “restore our reputation around the world as a reliable trading partner.” In particularly, Larew recommended that he “reassert American leadership in the international trade arena” and “back up his calls for bipartisanship by working with Congress to ensure farm families can succeed with fair and stable markets for their goods.”