Clements: During a reception Thursday evening at the USDA Ag Outlook Forum, AFBF President Zippy Duvall addressed attendees on the current state of agriculture. As USDA awaits Senate confirmation of President Donald Trump’s agriculture secretary nominee, Sonny Perdue of Georgia, Duvall says Perdue will be a great ambassador for American Agriculture.
Duvall: You’ll enjoy working with him, he will not disappoint you, and he will work harder than anybody else. He wants to make rural American and agriculture sustainable for the future, and for the farms families and businesses around it, for them to thrive in the future, and we’re just really excited about being able to work with him.
Clements: When it comes to immigration reform, Duvall called for reform that allows farmers the labor needed for crop production.
Duvall: It’s time for this country to make up its mind whether or not we’re going to import our labor to plant and harvest our crops or whether were going to import our food. And when I talk to Americans across this country, they don’t want food coming to their table from overseas. They want it grown in America, they would like to know who grew it, if possible. And when they realize that we can’t get the crops to the market without labor, they’re going to realize that we got to find a solution.
Clements: On trade, Duvall said renegotiations of NAFTA will mean the opportunity to address some concerns in the trade agreement. But at the same time, agricultural trade between the U.S. Canada and Mexico must be preserved. Duvall called for unity in agriculture, saying now is the best opportunity to stay engaged in agriculture policy.
Duvall: A lot of people across this country are sitting back saying I’ve done my job, I’ve got the man in the White House I want there and I got my Congressman or Senator I want there. But I’m challenging you, I’m, saying your job’s not done. We have the greatest opportunity in recent history of this country to actually stay engaged and make a difference in our futures.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.