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Trump’s Grade in Agriculture? A ‘C’ Overall, Says Farm Policy Expert
President Trump’s best decision on agriculture was to put Sonny Perdue in charge of USDA, says economist Barry Flinchbaugh, a farm policy expert and Kansas State University professor. Perdue provides sound advice to the president, said Flinchbaugh, who gave Trump a “C” average on the four issues of farm bill, trade, immigration, and deregulation, reported Drovers.
Trump merits an “A” for executive orders to reduce federal regulations, Flinchbaugh told a cattle feeders meeting in Denver. He graded Trump with a “B” on farm bill, a “D” on trade, and a “D” on immigration, said Drovers. The marks are slightly different from an assessment delivered in April as part of a KSU lecture series. That also was a “C” average from marks of “A” for the farm bill, “F” on trade, “C” on immigration, and “A” on deregulation, according to The Collegian newspaper.
Under Flinchbaugh’s grading, deregulation was the only consistently high score for Trump. The White House halted the Waters of the United States rule, unpopular in farm country, and is considering whether to revise or kill outright a set of livestock marketing rules proposed in the final weeks of the Obama administration.
Perdue “knows agriculture very well,” and the president deserves an “A” for the choice, said Flinchbaugh at the meeting in Denver, although the cabinet secretary was not part of his rubric for grades.
Due to the influence of Perdue and others, Trump settled on renegotiation of NAFTA rather than the “absolute disaster” of withdrawal from the pact, said Flinchbaugh in Denver. Drovers quoted him as saying, “The rejection of TPP played right into the hands of China.”
“Agriculture needs a permanent legal immigrant work force,” said Flinchbaugh, The administration has focused on border security and removal of illegal immigrants while proposals to legalize undocumented aliens have languished.
On the farm bill, due in 2018, Flinchbuagh said the “agricultural power structure is in very good hands,” with few significant changes expected from current law, reported Drovers. Congress usually takes the lead on farm bills, and the administration provides analysis.