President Trump addresses farmers at AFBF convention

Trade, regulatory reform and taxes among topics discussed during his 40-minute speech.

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President Donald Trump speaks to farmers during the 99th annual American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention in Nashville, Tenn. He said it would have been cooler to be at the 100th annual meeting, so he'll have to come back next year. (AFBF photo)

By Deana Stroisch

Speaking to thousands of farmers Monday, President Donald Trump pledged to help expand rural access to broadband and work with Congress to get an on-time farm bill passed that protects crop insurance.

Trump’s 40-minute speech came during American Farm Bureau Federation’s 99th Annual Convention at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn.

It represented the first time a sitting president spoke during AFBF’s annual convention since George H. W. Bush. Farmers waited in security lines for hours to get into the ballroom, only to wait hours longer to hear the president.

Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr. was part of the Illinois contingent that attended his speech.

“President Trump’s acceptance of the invitation to speak at the AFBF convention – the first president to do so in more than 25 years – speaks volumes about how important rural America is to him,” Guebert said. “It was gratifying to hear the president talk about issues that are important to Illinois Farm Bureau – specifically, reducing regulations including WOTUS, investing in our country’s infrastructure, and making broadband more accessible."

Trump outlined farmer benefits included in the new $1.5 trillion tax law – from lower tax rates to immediate expensing for equipment purchases. The audience cheered and gave him a standing ovation when Trump mentioned the changes to the “deeply unfair” estate tax. The new law doubles the estate tax exemption until December 31, 2025, while retaining stepped-up basis.

Trump also pointed to progress made to reduce the number of regulations. He said more than 1,500 planned federal regulations have been canceled or delayed. Soon after he took office, he signed an executive order requiring two regulations to be cut for every new one written. Trump said so far, his administration has cut 22 regulations for every new one.

Trump said his administration continues to review all trade agreements to “make sure they are fair reciprocal.”

“On NAFTA, I am working very hard to get a better deal for our country and for farmers and our manufacturers,” Trump said. “It’s under negotiation as we speak."

After his speech, Trump signed two presidential orders to provide “broader and faster and better internet coverage.”

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