Farm groups call for unity and a follow-through on promises from President Donald Trump after his State of the Union address Tuesday night. In a released statement, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said President Trump’s infrastructure investment plan, touted during the speech, will be a “boon to a rural America.” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said the roadmap outlined by the president “aims to unify and strengthen our nation,” and continue the theme of “renewing rural America.” The President presented what Duvall called a “bold” package for immigration reform, that should “prime the pump for overdue action.” Meanwhile, National Farmers Union urged Trump to follow-through on his promises, specific to rural America, on trade and infrastructure. Noting that the president promised to “turn the page” on “decades of unfair trade deals,” while also commenting on the president infrastructure plan, NFU President Roger Johnson said agriculture is “looking to President Trump to deliver on his promises to fix the nation’s failed free trade agreement framework and crumbling rural infrastructure. “
In reaction to the speech, regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement, Republican Senator from Kansas, Senate Ag Chair Pat Roberts, said: “Farmers and ranchers are still struggling with low prices and surpluses,” adding that: “We must aggressively pursue trade policies that increase access to new markets for these producers.” Roberts said that he is “continuing to make the case” that the U.S. economy, particularly agriculture, benefits from NAFTA, and that the U.S. “must preserve” a trade relationship with Mexico and Canada. Roberts also said that the U.S. “must move forward on new trade agreements” with nations that are “taking their business to our competitors.”
Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was the “designated survivor” for the State of the Union speech. The designated survivor is generally carted off to an undisclosed location, ready to assume the role of president, should a catastrophic event occur in the House chamber. Perdue is not the only Agriculture Secretary to serve in the role. Two decades ago, then-Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman was Washington’s designated survivor during then-President Bill Clinton’s speech.