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Ag. Group Says Trump Appointees Could Have Big Impact On Farmers

The Senate passed the farm bill on Dec. 11, 2018.
Ag. Group Says Trump Appointees Could Have 'Big Impact' On Farmers

Montana grain growers should be keeping an eye on more than who President-elect Trump appoints as agriculture secretary. That’s what an industry expert told them at their conference in Great Falls Wednesday.

Donald Trump didn’t take many positions on agriculture issues during his campaign. 

But Dr. Stephanie Mercier, Policy Director for the Farm Journal Foundation, told an audience at the MGGA convention that there are other issues the future president did talk about that could have a big impact on American farmers:

"Included in those are trade policy, immigration, renewable energy and regulation. He did not take much of a stance on specific farm bill issues," Mercier said. 

She says presidents typically aren’t active in the farm bill process, but whomever Trump appoints as policy advisers will have large influence over the next Farm Bill expected in 2018. 

She cited a 2007 census of agriculture showing more than a third of hired crop workers are undocumented immigrants as another potential shift in the industry under the President-elect. 

During his campaign, Trump was also very critical of U.S. trade deals including TPP and NAFTA. Mercier says if Trump follows through on all his pledges on trade policy it could end up hurting the country's exports.

“Trade has been a big part of agriculture and it's not clear that this next administration will be favorable on that front,” she said.

Mercier says the agriculture industry may not get answers to a lot of the questions about what a Trump administration means until after he’s in office and his policy team is assembled. 

She says the industry should keep an eye on who takes over key executive branch agencies moving forward, including U.S. Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency and Office of U.S. Trade Representative.

Those positions are likely to be filled in mid December. 

Corin Cates-Carney is the news director at Montana Public Radio. He joined MTPR in 2015 and is a graduate of the University of Montana School of Journalism.
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