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What Will the Future Bring?

  

Nov 11, 2016

    

The long and frequently divisive Presidential campaign is over.  We have a President-elect and we must look to the future with optimism.  For too long our nation has been mired in legislative gridlock with only nominal growth.

The healing process must begin based on the realization that pre-electoral rhetoric is not necessarily what a President and his Administration may implement. Peter Thiel, the lone Silicon Valley supporter noted that the Media took Candidate Trump too literally while voters heard a more moderate message.

 

Incoming Presidents realize very quickly both the restraints and power of the office and recognize the obligation to lead the entire nation.  President-elect Trump is in a powerful position.  With a Republican Senate and House his party, especially if it can be made whole, will have more power than any Republican administration since the late 1920’s.

The following considerations emerged from a review of the platform at the Republican National Convention and prepared statements by the candidate and his supporters as they relate to future policy:

  • The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior will be less aggressive in pursuit of programs which place farmers and food producers at a disadvantage.  It is evident that the heartland of our nation comprises “Red States” and candidate-Trump was elected by the strong support of rural communities.  Although he is one of the few presidents without obligations to vested interests, he certainly owes a debt of gratitude to farmers which will be evident in support of ethanol.  The WOTUS Rule currently under legal review will most certainly be shelved.
  • Regulatory agencies including OSHA will be more lenient in the pursuit of industries which may or may not have a record of injury and illness.  Notwithstanding changes in policy, it behooves processors and packers to ensure that workers function in a safe environment.  Worker well-being can be accomplished by good management and cooperation rather than by intrusive agencies.
  • Proposed tax cuts and stimulatory measures will increase domestic consumption of food and agriculture products.  This may however be offset by declining trade especially if the TPP, NAFTA and the TAP are either abandoned or renegotiated.  At the end of the day nations will purchase food and commodities from the U.S. based on financial realities and needs. If our Dollar becomes too strong we will be at a disadvantage compared to exporting nations such as Argentina and Brazil.  Concern was expressed during the campaign that the President-elect has no direct experience in economics despite his commercial exposure.  If the Administration appoints non-partisan economists as advisors and counselors, deficiencies in his knowledge may not affect progress.
  • The promise to spend upwards of $800 billion on infrastructure will stimulate the economy and at the same time improve transport of grains from the Midwest using the waterway system. Upgrading the interstate highway system will expedite transport of poultry products from the heartland to markets on both coasts.
  • The incoming Administration will need to develop an immigration policy which allows controlled entry of farm workers.  Despite the fact that we have a large unemployed urban population without jobs skills, this demographic is disinclined to participate in the farming sector.
  • The Department of Agriculture under a less liberal and altruistic leadership will reverse policy extending artificial support to non-viable “family farms”. It is expected that a Trump USDA will deviate from the current policy of supporting small-scale livestock and specialty crop projects which are financially infeasible.  The current Administration has disfavored intensive agriculture to the detriment of productivity.
  • Social programs will be reviewed including work-requirements to obtain Supplemental Nutrition Assistance.  This will probably bring more recipients into the workforce but it is obvious that training and education will be necessary to achieve progress.

In considering our future one is reminded of the Tennyson quotation “The old order changeth yielding place to new and God fulfills himself in many ways.”