In a nearly hour long speech today to the 100th convention of the American Farm Bureau, President Donald Trump hit all the right notes for this enthusiastic audience. It was his second appearance in as many years.
He made his case for a border wall citing examples of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. He said the vast quantities of illegal drugs coming into the country could be stopped by a barrier and by improved electronic screening technology at ports of entries. He invited rancher Jim Chilton of Arizona, whose property is at the border, to the microphone. The president said Chilton had experienced many problems and danger as a result of drug cartels traversing his property. Mr. Chilton said, “We need a wall.” He went on to point out that the Catholic Church as a wall around the Vatican… “the biggest wall I’ve ever seen,” he said. The president drew laughter when he pointed out that while a wall is called “medieval”, he said so is the wheel, but it still works pretty well.
The President said he wants to allow foreign workers into the country on U.S. farms with programs that work better for both farmers and their employees.
On the trade front he said that American agriculture has been at a disadvantage with international trade for the past 15 years, claiming that exports had declined. He said that with the new North American trade agreement and many more he wants to create with individual countries, American ag will have unprecedented opportunity to sell U.S. products abroad. He cited for example that he had secured the opportunity for U.S. pork to be sold into Argentina. He named a Wisconsin farm family saying they will now be able to compete on a level playing field.
He said that tax reductions have helped not only farmers but the whole U.S. economy. He said farms could more easily stay within families with the big reductions in estate taxes.
He also said that infrastructure would be improved, including the river and canal systems that move much of America’s grain to ports for export.
The president concluded with a ringing tribute to farmers, ranchers, growers and their families for their hard work, their self-reliance and their values which he said have built America.