Still waiting for ag to get its voice (Editorial)
(Feb. 28, 2017) There is a growing concern within the ag industry — one which we share — that the Trump administration still has no agricultural secretary.
Tom Vilsack, who held the position under President Obama, has long since departed to another job.
The name of Sonny Perdue III, the former governor of Georgia and himself a farmer, was advanced as Vilsack’s successor but the appointment has not been formally confirmed.
News reports coming out of Washington often bear the pictures of the cabinet appointees who have yet to be confirmed. Perdue — no relation to Frank or Jim, by the way — has yet to be among them so far.
Neither is the Department of Agriculture mentioned as missing from the lineup.
What that means, of course, is that the nation’s agricultural industry has yet to have a clear voice in the deliberations of the new administration.
It is not that it does not, nor should not, have a place at the table and be heard.
Among President Donald Trump’s most promised focus of action in the first 100 days has been immigration.
And the nation’s leading agricultural organizations have assured him — and reminded him — that those foreign workers are vital to the industry and the nation’s food supply.
Is he hearing those voices of the industry?
It does not seem so. Even at his recent “rally” in Florida where he touched all of the bases in his 100-day itinerary of accomplishments, there was only a fleeting mention of the nation’s farmers.
They — and we — hoped for more.
It was, after all, the men and women of rural America and of the farm belts across the center of this nation that helped propel him into office.
As he struggles mightily against a tide of liberal opposition, he should gather around him the muscled arms of America’s farmers.
Chances are they are waiting for the call.