On July 15 I had the opportunity to be on a conference call with President Donald Trump; U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Purdue; and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, along with other Farm Bureau leaders from around the country.
The call started with President Trump talking about current items giving US farmers some positive news during this COVID-19 downturn. He shared that E15 fuel will now be available year-round, instead of just eight months, which will help drive demand for corn. In June, rural broadband received a boost with $2 billion to improve internet connections throughout the U.S. Another $28 billion was given to farmers in the Market Facilitation Program earlier this year. This $28 billion was tariff money received from trade wars with China over a two-year period.
The President talked about the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement which went into effect July 1 and replaced the North American Trade Agreement. This new agreement makes trade fairer for farmers, and other industries, who were at a disadvantage with the NAFTA agreement. Also, good news for the U.S. beef and pork producers, the European Union has agreed to buy more beef and Argentina and Brazil are increasing the amount of U.S. pork purchases.
After these opening comments, a few people were able to ask questions of the political leaders on the call. Some questions were directed toward ongoing trade challenges with China. Another question was asked about a plan to protect property rights from government overreach. As farmers and agriculture supporters, we were encouraged to voice our concerns and vote to protect what we do and how we do it.
Well maybe you’re wondering why I am telling about this White House conference call, especially since politics can be such a divisive topic. From my point of view, these people are our elected officials and we all need to have conversations with them to share our concerns. It doesn’t matter what your political party views are, they are approachable and accountable. If we can have dialogue with the individuals elected to office, we can make Green Lake County and the United States a better place to live and work.
Get out and vote August 11, and then again on November 3. Reach out and ask those running for office what they are planning to do and voice your concerns.
Pete Badtke is a dairy farmer from Ripon, Wisconsin where he milks 90 cows and runs about 300 acres of land. Pete started farming in 1987. He has been married for 16 years to his wife Lori and has 2 daughters, Kasie and Sarah. Pete currently serves as director on Green Lake County Farm Bureau board and as chairman of Calvary Lutheran Church in Princeton.