What farmers should expect under Trump, new Congress
Donald Trump’s election to the presidency and Republican Party majorities in both chambers of Congress mean more than a simple change of scenery. Producers can expect policies of a different nature than those of President Obama’s administration, says Jim Wiesemeyer, senior vice president, Washington Bureau, Informa Economics and a consultant to Pro Farmer.
“We’ll have far fewer new regulations, and the ones that do come out will have more cost-benefit analysis to them,” Wiesemeyer says. For example, the Waters of the United States rule will be repealed or significantly watered down, he says.
During his first two years in the White House, Trump will face the task of making good on commitments he made to voters, especially in rural America. Members of Congress will have to decide whether they work together with him or take an opportunity, in the case of those Wiesemeyer deems “arch-conservative Republicans,” to contest him.
Trade is a wild card. Trump has taken an “aggressive anti-trade policy stance” relative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Wiesemeyer says, and it’s unlikely he’ll back away from that tenor. Yet roughly 65% of U.S. soybeans are exported to China. “I think reason will prevail eventually on that topic,” he says.
Biofuels policy will be supportive of corn producers. Iowa’s electoral college votes went to Trump, who will reward the state by supporting ethanol and biodiesel, Wiesemeyer says. The Renewable Fuels Standard will be up for “major debate” by energy panels in both chambers of Congress in 2017, and while some tweaks will likely be made, they won’t be draconian.
Discussions on the new farm bill will involve more livestock and better safety nets, he predicts. As
the leader of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., will bring an understanding of livestock interests, which will likely include more money for disease indemnity payments and serum in the event of a disease outbreak. He’s also very supportive of crop insurance.
Infrastructure will be another Trump focal point. In his acceptance speech after the election, Trump described plans to “rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels,” says Mike Steenhoek, executive director, Soy Transportation Coalition.
“The beguiling question will be how to pay for new investment,” Steenhoek says.
During Top Producer’s annual conference Jan. 24–27 in Chicago, hear Jim Wiesemeyer, senior vice president, Washington Bureau, Informa Economics, deliver a mainstage presentation titled, “How President Trump Will Affect Your Farm.” To register, visit topproducerseminar.com.