POTUS in Farm Bureau land

Well, this is refreshing. For the first time since 1992, a sitting president spoke to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention.

That alone is breaking news, despite it barely being covered by mainstream media networks. However, President Donald Trump did in fact speak to hundreds of farmers and ranchers in a packed room at the 99th annual convention in Nashville, Tennessee. And from the thunderous applause and multiple standing ovations, it appears he told rural America what they wanted to hear.

The president carefully, and very thoughtfully I’m sure, stayed away from the issue of trade, as he has not exactly been on the same page as farmers. However, he did touch on a lot of issues that affect the daily lives of folks like yourself.

Perhaps the president’s most timely line of his speech was, “I’m looking forward to working with Congress to pass the farm bill on time, so that it delivers for all of you.”

Did you hear that? President Trump definitively said that we will have a farm bill on time—no pressure on the House and Senate Agriculture Committees or anything though. Of course the president doesn’t have a lot of say on the timing of a bill that is drafted in the House and Senate, it’s reassuring to hear support from the president on such an important piece of legislation to farmers and ranchers.

There have been grumblings in the press from members of Congress doubting and forecasting a delayed farm bill, even mentioning it at the very same Farm Bureau convention.

In a time where it has become the norm for Congress to kick the can down the road, it’s nice to see a president who wants to get things done for farmers and ranchers in a timely manner.

The current farm bill expires in September. Both agriculture committees have held extensive hearings on farm bill titles and programs and seem primed and ready to draft legislation—if they haven’t already done so.

So, the question is—since the president has signaled an on time farm bill, does this open up the farm bill to more attacks than usual? Democrat lawmakers that try their hardest to stop anything and everything that President Trump attempts to do may be more likely to find fault with the farm bill.

Also, does this mean that lawmakers will try to attach legislative efforts to the farm bill that may not usually be attached to the farm bill? Will lawmakers try to attach welfare reform to the farm bill?

These are questions we will soon find out.

Though I’m certainly more pleased than dismayed about the president’s comments about farm bill timing, I fear it may put a larger than normal target on the farm bill and its programs.

But then again, I’ve never been a glass-half-full kind of person.

Editor’s note: Seymour Klierly writes Washington Whispers for the Journal from inside the Beltway.