Farmers Enthusiastically Support President Trump; Some Want Trade Deals ‘Tweaked,’ Not Ended

President Donald Trump holds up a signed executive order and a memorandum on rural broadband access at the American Farm Bureau Federation's Annual Convention at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

NASHVILLE, Tennessee — President Donald Trump was at the top of his game on Monday when he addressed the 99th Annual Convention of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Trump’s thirty-minute speech was interrupted several times by wild applause and standing ovations.

The highlight of his speech came when he addressed the changes in the estate tax in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act he signed in December.

“And from now on, most family farms and small business owners will be spared, and you’re gonna be spared, and it really is the word punishment, of the deeply unfair estate tax known as the death tax — so you can keep your farms in the family,” the president said.

The audience rose to its feet and delivered a thunderous round of applause, which the president clearly enjoyed.

The overall good feeling of the crowd was not dampened by potential differences between some farmers and the president on the matter of trade.

Several members of the audience were spotted wearing buttons that read, “I Support NAFTA” and “Farmers for Free Trade.”

Breitbart News interviewed several attendees wearing those buttons.

“As a rice farmer, our biggest customer is Mexico, in the rice market. [Ending] NAFTA would take away our largest customer. Any businessman does not want his largest customer lost. NAFTA means I want to keep our fair trade between Mexico and Canada,” Corbin Brown from Wynn, Arkansas, told Breitbart News:

“I support the tweaking of NAFTA. It’s a 25-year-old document; it needs to be tweaked. There are some things that have become unfair over the years, and yes, NAFTA needs to be tweaked. No, we do not need to do away with it,” Brown added.

“Trade is very important to farmers,” said Philip Ramsey from Shelbyville, Indiana:

“We have to export our products, our grain, our meat, and we need free trade and good agreements for our country,” Ramsey added.

Stan Whitney from South Central Minnesota told Breitbart News he was wearing a button that said, “I Support Trade: Farmers for Free Trade” because “we need to export a large percentage of our produce, whether it be grain or meat. The U.S. raises more crops than they consume, and so trade is very important to keep a strong price so we can be successful”:

Breitbart News asked Whitney if he supported the president’s efforts to renegotiate NAFTA to obtain more favorable terms.

“I don’t know all of his details, but we support trade. We’ve traded for years,” Whitney responded.

“The button I’m wearing is ‘I Support NAFTA,'” John Reffort, a grain livestock farmer from LaGrange County, Indiana, told Breitbart News:

“I know that our president supports trade, so I know he’ll work the best deal that he can for us. We all need NAFTA, but we also need fair trade,” Reffort said.

“I support free trade because most of our commodities get exported. And we can’t eat or wear all the commodities we grow in the United States,” Billy, a cotton grower from Texas, west of the Lubbock area, told Breitbart News:

“Really, the agriculture industry supports so much of the economy. We have to be able to export these commodities,” Billy said.