Fighting for farmers everywhere
Posted on January 19, 2018 15:26 pm CST
By Congressman Billy Long,
“We know that our nation was founded by farmers. Our independence was won by farmers. Our continent was tamed by farmers … Our armies have been fed by farmers and made of farmers.” President Trump made these remarks at the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in Nashville, Tennessee earlier this month. These words are a breath of fresh air to farmers across America. After eight years of dealing with a president unwilling to fight for rural America, things are finally changing.
In the U.S., there are 3.2 million farmers, making up only two percent of the population. These men and women, who are the backbone of this country, work continuously for the American people. Over the years, they have encountered numerous obstacles, such as inadequate infrastructure, overregulation and crushing taxes that run farmers into the ground.
During his speech, President Trump talked about a variety of issues facing farmers today, including the lack of investment in rural infrastructure. Over time, our nation’s infrastructure has deteriorated and nearly 25 percent of our bridges need repairs. That’s why, in 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture invested more than $40 million in rural infrastructure. With trucks carrying 75 percent of agricultural tonnage, it’s imperative we invest in our roads and bridges so they can support the demands of the agricultural community.
But trucks aren’t the only mode of transportation supporting the agriculture industry. Almost 50 percent of U.S. agricultural exports are shipped either by barges or train, both of which use existing infrastructure that needs significant investment. By 2035, railroads will need an investment of $200 billion and by 2025, 70 percent of dams in the U.S. will be over 50 years old. The longer we wait to invest, the more it will cost and harm farmers and their ability to get their products to market.
However, infrastructure isn’t the only thing hurting day-to-day business for farmers. Overregulation has continued to strap farmers and stifle innovation. Since taking office, President Trump has prioritized regulatory reform and stopped or delayed 1,500 regulatory actions. One of those regulations included the Waters of the United States rule, which threatened how farmers could choose to oversee and manage their land. From excessive fines to endless paperwork, cutting regulations has been key to making have a little red tape as possible.
I will continue to do my part and meet with farmers from all across Missouri’s 7thCongressional District. Missouri is proud to be home to hundreds of farmers. With almost 100,000 farms spread across 28 million acres, investing in regulations and cutting regulations vital to Missouri’s success.