“Clearly it will be known in the history books as the age of uncertainty,” predicted Barry Flinchbaugh, Kansas State professor emeritus of agricultural economics, when discussing the current administration.

“I’ve been predicting, analyzing, and studying ag policy for 50 years now, and I can tell you without any doubt that it’s never been more difficult than it is under this President and this Congress,” the seasoned ag policy analyst commented when speaking on the Kansas State campus.

When it comes to breaking down the effect of Trump’s presidency on agriculture, the longtime professor of agriculture policy pulled out his red pen to offer grades for this administration’s anticipated effect on the farm bill, trade, immigration, and deregulation.

“So the question is will President Trump and the new Congress be good for agriculture, and the answer is clearly a mixed bag,” Flinchbaugh said.

When it comes to the farm bill, Flinchbaugh said the conditions for debating this next bill are a good sign for producers. “I would much rather debate a farm bill when incomes are low in farm country,” he said. For the most part, he predicted the new farm bill will be similar to the previous one and will be fairly positive.

On the issue of trade, Flinchbaugh’s grade was much different. “Trump is an old-fashioned protectionist. However, 25 percent of what we produce must find a home outside the U.S.,” he shared. Flinchbaugh said inattentiveness to this need for export and failure in trade policy will significantly hurt U.S. agriculture.

When discussing immigration, Flinchbaugh said his grade for this administration changes almost daily. Most importantly in this category is the need for a stable, permanent, legal workforce for agriculture. That’s something we in dairy know as well as anyone. It is still up in the air, in his opinion, how this will change in this administration.

On the topic of deregulation, Flinchbaugh said this administration should be good to agriculture. “If President Trump carries out his policies of deregulation, our production costs will decrease,” he explained.

“The only thing that is certain in the age of uncertainty is that the next four years will not be dull,” he shared in conclusion.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2017
May 1, 2017

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