Presidential Report Card

January 17, 2019 09:09 AM
Some farmers applaud Trump’s efforts but dislike his demeanor.

While grain prices plummeted, and farmers were faced with few choices for profitability during harvest, most stood firm in their support of President Donald Trump. Yes, Trump has supported farmers with efforts such as a revised Waters of the United States rule, year-round availability of E-15, tax reform and a farm bill. But the wounds inflicted by his trade tactics will undoubtedly leave scars farmers won’t soon forget.

“I have supported Donald Trump since he started his campaign for president, and he has done a great job ‘shrinking our government’ and following through on many of his campaign promises,” says Kansas farmer Ken McCauley. “Rural America has experienced more pain than we expected in accomplishing some of POTUS’ goals, but as the saying goes ‘no pain no gain.’”

Minnesota farmer Brad Nelson isn’t happy about the wounds inflicted by Trump’s trade war.

“We have been the tip of the spear in trade talks,” he says. “It’s tiresome to watch efforts of checkoff dollars and commodity organizations get totally nullified. The next three or four years will tell if it was the right move or if it sets off another big expansion of South American acres.”

Uncertain Outlook. When you consider the turmoil surrounding trade over the past six months it’s easy to understand why farmers are worried about the future.

“There is concern about whether some of this damage will be more lasting than what was originally feared,” says Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., a former U.S. secretary of agriculture referring to the tariffs caused by the trade war.

In early December, following the trade truce reached by Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Chinese firms started purchasing U.S. soybeans again—at a slower-than-normal rate. Still, farmers have concern over the president’s tactics and demeanor. 

“Donald Trump is like nothing we have ever experienced as president,” says Indiana farmer Don Lamb. “I’m sure there have been colorful and extreme personalities in our history, but not since I’ve been alive has there been anyone like Donald Trump. The dichotomy is that while I personally don’t like Donald Trump, I really like the policies he stands up for as president.”

Lamb says rural America and agriculture specifically have been elevated under Trump. 

“My whole life I have heard nothing but negative comments about China: currency manipulation, untrustworthiness, lack of integrity, outright theft,” Lamb continues. “Whether we like the negative impacts of tariffs or not, it is refreshing to have a president who stands up and does something about our trade environment with China.”

“Many people can’t see the forest (accomplishments) for the trees (POTUS’ tweets and the ways he communicates),” McCauley adds. “I believe POTUS has our best interest at heart and has helped us in many ways, although these things haven’t happened exactly like we would want them to happen.”  

Which policy issues from 2018 will loom into this year? Read the AgWeb political outlook for 2019 at

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Spell Check

cooper, IA
1/4/2019 12:06 AM

  Jimmy is correct. Trump is the first one to stand up to the enemy. The reason most farmers stick by him is we are practical and know this has to be done. To Rjohn Ask Japan if they like not having missiles from North Korea flying overhead. We moved the embassy to Jerusalem as many before him promised but never did. He is getting the rest of NATO to cough up the money they owe. That doesn't look incompetent to me but i guess your world is much different. You prefer handing billions in cash to the largest state sponsor of terrorism and showing weakness while getting us involved in multiple wars.

margaret byrd
1/4/2019 04:52 AM

  I like President Trump. I sometimes wish he was more diplomatic but in a way that is one of his successes. He doesn't know how to filter like a political animal. He's tough we know from watching him take hit after hit in media and keep on going. He's smart. He's getting things done. I actually saw English speaking Americans working in new construction for the first time in over a decade recently. You'd be surprised how many American low income families lost their homes because illegals worked cheaper and the employers didn't have to pay FDIC. Immigration fine but not throwing bottles and storming the border. We don't need a lot of entitled young people that think they can just push everyone around and get their way. I love that he is letting businesses keep their money and expand which has reduced unemployment. It's nice to eat on a regular basis and have a roof over our heads that doesn't leak. Eventually the trade issues will be resolved and we will all be richer for it.

Montfort, WI
1/3/2019 02:11 AM

  He gets an F-. Yeah really standing up for us. Gutted the RFS by allowing all the illegal Rin waivers to be handed out by his crooked EPA administrator. Now ethanol plants are struggling because of reduced demand. Hardship waivers were handed out to successful refiners who were making money. Explain how THAT helped the American farmer!?!? Then he says in his new trade policy that the EU is gonna buy tons and tons of soybeans. He's too stupid to realize that GMO beans are even allowed to be planted in Europe so how the hell are we gonna have an export market there? Complete lack of knowledge on the dynamics of American agriculture.


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