President’s Blog: All eyes on agriculture this week

This has been a busy week for agriculture with the appointment of Sonny Purdue to the post of Secretary of Agriculture and President Donald Trump’s executive order which creates a task force to examine the state of agriculture.

All eyes are certainly on agriculture this week as the new administration faces a tough road ahead paved with many challenges but also great opportunity.

As to the appointment of Sonny Purdue: Montana Farmers Union has one main ask of the secretary: to preserve family farms. Family farms and ranches are the backbone of agriculture and our rural communities. Secretary Purdue can do this by supporting trade initiatives that encourage fair trade not free trade – this will ensure Montana producers are getting fair market value for their commodities – this includes addressing the trade deficit with Canada. Montana Farmers Union also charges Secretary Purdue with the responsibility of upholding safety net provisions in the next Farm Bill to help provide protection for producers.

To President Trump’s executive order: Montana farmers and ranchers are on the front lines of agriculture fighting to maintain our rural communities and way of life. The executive order, titled Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America, establishes the Interagency Task Force of Agriculture and Rural Prosperity. The task force will be led by Secretary Purdue.

According to the executive order the group, which will consist of cabinet members and other high ranking officials, is charged with examining roadblocks to success in rural America. It requires the task force to report its findings to the president within 180 days of this order. According to the order the purpose of the tax force will also be to: expand educational opportunities for students in rural communities; empower local government to support rural development; promote the preservation of family farms and other agribusiness operations; support water users’ private property rights and encourage production, export and use of domestically produced agriculture products, to name a few.

Montana Farmers Union views all of the above as high priority items for the administration and looks forward to the findings of the task force. We also look forward to Secretary Purde’s address at the 2017 Montana Ag Summit in Great Falls.

The executive order, Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America, can be found at https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/04/25/presidential-executive-order-promoting-agriculture-and-rural-prosperity.

-Alan Merrill/ President

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