Trump Signs Rural Broadband Executive Orders at FB Convention

January 8, 2018 05:41 PM
President Donald Trump addressed the 2018 Farm Bureau Convention in Nashville.

President Donald Trump played through the greatest hits of his first year in office before a receptive audience at the 99th Annual American Farm Bureau Federation Convention in Nashville: tax reform including the estate tax, regulatory reform including the Waters of the U.S. rule. Then he brought two new pieces for his farm and ranch audience, a pair of executive orders to expand rural broadband access.

Earlier in the afternoon, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue provided the preamble to President Trump’s speech with the release of the Agriculture and Rural Prosperity Task Force Report, a joint effort of 22 federal agencies charged with improving the rural economy. The executive orders signed by the President deliver two of the more than 100 recommendations by the task force. Both measures ease the way for cell tower access on federal lands.

President Trump noted he was the first sitting president since George H.W. Bush in 1992 to speak before the Farm Bureau, and he riffed on the 99th anniversary of the event noting, “You understand that 100 is so much cooler. So I’ll be back, I think, next year. I’ll come back.”

Over the past year, the President has made repeated threats to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) raising concern from the Farm Bureau membership. President Trump only briefly mentioned the ongoing trade negotiations in his remarks. 

“To level the playing field for our great American exporters, our farmers and ranchers as well as our manufacturers, we're reviewing all of our trade agreements to make sure that they are fair and reciprocal,” the President said. “Reciprocal… so important on NAFTA. I am working very hard to get a better deal for our country and for our farmers and for our manufacturers.

“It's under negotiation as we speak,” he explained. “But think of it when Mexico's make it all of that money when Canada is making all of that money. It's not the easiest negotiation but we're going to make it fair for you people again. Now we want to see even more victories for the American farmer and for the American rancher.”

Farmers like Nicholas Kenny of Mesa, Arizona welcomed even a short mention of the ongoing NAFTA talks. “He made a step in the right direction to acknowledge that trade is a big issue in agriculture,” he said.

President Trump appealed to the base that supported his White House aspirations.  “I used to call them the forgotten men and women,” Trump explained. “And then when everyone saw them coming into the polls the other side said how do we get some of them. They were unbelievable. They are forgotten no more! Remember that you're forgotten no more. We're fighting for our farmers. Thank you. And we're fighting for our country and for our great American flag.”

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Spell Check

John Shipp
Clarksville, TN
1/25/2018 04:11 PM

  Wonder how many knew that this was an insurance company convention that just happens to have farm in the name?? Trump never heard of it!!! When we were fighting the battle for farmers in the 1980s Farm Bureau did not want to have anything to do The American Agriculture Movement. VERY BAD!

Milbank, SD
1/9/2018 09:23 AM

  My Senator Thune sat behind to eat by me and my son at the Milbank Pizza Ranch. I have always thought of him as a big Ag Proponent but he seems like a decent man when he isn't standing for photo opts behind Mitch McConnell. He shook hands with everyone in the sparsely populated room He was walking out and I waved him over. He walked up and greeted my 8 year old and shook my hand. I am really concerned about preexisting conditions penalty because I have Crohn's disease but I thought I would save that for later. I thanked him for all the work he did for the ethanol industry and I said I sad for the unraveling of 70 years of trade deals that were complicated and not easily replaced. He said point blank to me that the President didn't have the faintest idea how agriculture works and wasn't prone to listening to others. I can't tell you how surprised I was to hear him say this outloud. That was 4 months ago and he probably wouldn't say it today after the Tax Bill. I mentioned my Crohns and he finished my question by saying I shouldn't worry about losing my preexisting conditions. I asked him how could he say that. He left at the moment. I don't know if he remembered the 50 emails I sent his office and maybe my name was familiar. After the revelations of what the White House Staff think about the President it should be common knowledge what the leadership thinks of him. They hated him in the election and did everything to get someone else. John Katich seems to be the most level headed of the entire bunch but somehow that didn't impress his base. Maybe Thune is a moderate. I would think so but Trump does not know anything but New York Real Estate and not prime farmland. Again we are disrespected no matter what we do by a public who thinks we are welfare queens and a President who thinks we are hicks.

clifford craig
ann arbor, MI
1/9/2018 06:45 AM

  Did anyone ask about NAFTA or any other trade agreements which this president thinks are all "very bad"?