Trump describes work to reduce regulatory burden

Issue Date: January 10, 2018
By Dave Kranz

Pledging to honor "America's proud farming legacy" in every decision his administration makes, President Donald Trump told Farm Bureau members the administration is "putting an end to the regulatory assault on your way of life."

Trump spoke Monday to the 99th American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention in Nashville, Tenn., pointing out he was the first president to speak at AFBF since President George H.W. Bush in 1992.

From his inauguration nearly one year ago, Trump said, "we have been working every day to deliver for America's farmers, just as they work every single day to deliver for us."

The president received perhaps his most enthusiastic reception when he described the administration's work to reduce the impact of government regulation on farms and ranches.

"For years, many of you have endured burdensome fines, inspections, paperwork and relentless intrusion from an army of regulators at the EPA, the FDA and countless other federal agencies," Trump said. "That's why I'm truly proud to report that within our first 11 months, my administration has cancelled or delayed over 1,500 planned regulatory actions or assaults, more than any president in the history of the United States."

Trump said his administration has cut 22 regulations for every new regulation the government has proposed.

For farmers and ranchers, one of the key efforts has been the administration's plan to rescind and replace a "waters of the United States" regulation that agricultural organizations say would have expanded federal agencies' oversight of farmland and farming activities.

Referring to it as "the terrible waters of the United States rule," the president said farmers and ranchers had come to him in tears after he signed an executive order to rescind a 2015 WOTUS rule, because he had "given them back their property."

"We ditched the rule," Trump said to a standing ovation.

California Farm Bureau Federation President Jamie Johansson, who attended the speech, said he found encouragement in President Trump's pledge to continue reducing burdensome regulations.

"Any time you talk to a group of farmers and you can proudly declare to them that for every regulation that's been put into place, they've removed 22, that's a very positive sign," Johansson said, adding that he hopes the administration will continue its work to ease regulations "that overpower our own decision-making on the farm."

Trump also described the impact of the federal tax-reform legislation he signed late last year, saying that most of its benefits would go to "working families, small businesses and the family farmer."

The president said his administration was removing "harmful restrictions" on forest practices, "so you can log more timber, plant more trees and export more renewable resources to other countries."

Farm organizations have encouraged President Trump to look at the benefits of trade agreements with foreign nations, which have helped American farmers and ranchers to open new markets among foreign customers.

In his Farm Bureau speech, the president said the administration is "reviewing all our trade agreements to make sure that they are fair and reciprocal." On the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, he said, "I'm working very hard to get a better deal for our country and for our farmers and for our manufacturers."

Noting the presence in the audience of U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, Trump said he looks forward to working with Congress to pass updated federal farm legislation on time, "so that it delivers for all of you," and said he supported a bill that retained crop insurance provisions.

Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, who preceded him in speaking to the Farm Bureau audience, announced completion of a report by the administration's Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity. The president described the task force as part of the administration's efforts to "bring hope and prosperity to struggling rural communities."

Among its recommendations, Trump said, "we are proposing infrastructure reforms to ensure that our rural communities have access to the best roadways, railways and waterways anywhere in the world. We're going to be spending the necessary funds and get you taken care of—and these projects are going to be built under budget and ahead of schedule."

At the conclusion of his speech, the president signed two executive orders stemming from the task force report, aimed at enhancing broadband Internet coverage in rural areas.

According to the White House, one order instructed the Department of the Interior to dedicate assets toward rural broadband installation. The second order will "streamline the installation process," the White House said, by requiring agencies to use standardized processes for installing antennas on federal buildings.

(Dave Kranz is editor of Ag Alert. He may be contacted at

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.