President Donald Trump’s performance for agriculture during his first six months in office is a mixed bag, according to Barry Flinchbaugh, professor emeritus, agricultural economics at Kansas State University. Flinchbaugh, an expert on agricultural policy who has contributed to the development of each farm bill since joining the KSU faculty in 1974, says Trump deserves an A for the appointment of Sonny Perdue as Secretary of Agriculture because of his intelligence and “he knows agriculture very well.”
Flinchbaugh, speaking at the Cattle Feeders Business Summit sponsored by Merck Animal Health in Denver, CO, said Perdue deserves credit for shaping the Trump administration’s view on issues such as trade and immigration.
“It would have been an absolute disaster to withdraw from NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement),” Flinchbaugh says. “The U.S., Mexico and Canada have all benefitted. NAFTA has resulted in a net job increase for the U.S., and Mexico and Canada are our top two customers. If we screw up NAFTA we run the risk of losing those customers to Brazil, Argentina and other countries.”
With Perdue’s influence, Flinchbaugh says the Trump policy shifted from abolish NAFTA to renegotiate. On the four top issues facing agriculture, Flinchbaugh assigned the following grades to President Trump: farm bill, B; trade, D; immigration, D; deregulation, A.
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