Sugar producers’ biggest concerns heading into 2018 revolve around the Farm Bill and trade – specifically keeping America’s no-cost sugar policy strong and making sure heavily subsidized foreign sugar industries don’t bankrupt U.S. farms and businesses.
It’s no surprise, then, that the sugar farmers who heard President Donald Trump speak at this week’s Farm Bureau convention were impressed.
“Our farmers deserve a government that serves their interest and empowers them to do the hard work that they love to do so much,” the President told a cheering crowd of nearly 5,000.
And part of what he promised was a strong farm safety net that will help growers deal with falling commodity prices, weather disasters, and other challenges outside their control.
“I’m looking forward to working with Congress to pass the Farm Bill on time so that it delivers for all of you,” he said. “We are working hard on the Farm Bill, and I think it’s going to go well.”
Galen Lee, a sugarbeet farmer from New Plymouth, Idaho, attended the speech.
“It’s obvious that the President appreciates America’s farmers and ranchers and wants to do everything in his power to help us succeed and to help rural America rebuild,” said Lee, who is president of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association.
Improving rural broadband availability, rolling back onerous government regulations, and the recently passed tax package were among the other topics on which the President spoke.
Ryan Weston, who represents sugarcane producers from Florida and Texas, was in Nashville for the event and said that these types of investments are sorely needed to keep American agriculture competitive in a global market that is grossly distorted by foreign subsidies and trade barriers.
On trade, President Trump told the group, “We are reviewing all of our trade agreements to make sure they are fair and reciprocal.”
And that was music to the ears of Neil Rockstad, a sugarbeet grower from Hendrum, Minnesota.
“America’s sugar farmers have been asked to take a backseat to subsidized foreign sugar industries for too long,” he said. “That’s hurt our price and led to the closure of numerous sugar mills and farms. It’s refreshing to have a leader in the White House who insists that trade be both free and fair to America’s farmers.”
President Trump’s support for rural America shouldn’t come as a surprise. He knows how important agriculture is to America’s economy, security, and moral fabric.
“We are witnessing a new era of patriotism, prosperity, and pride,” he concluded. “And at the forefront of this exciting new chapter is the great American farmer.”