U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue joined President Trump for a “Farmers Roundtable” at the White House to address issues facing the American agriculture community, as the president signed an Executive Order establishing an Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity.
The Farmers Roundtable featured more than a dozen farmers and representatives of the agriculture community who discussed with Trump and Perdue a variety of topics, including agricultural trade, regulatory reform, rural investment and infrastructure, labor issues, and the Farm Bill.
Former Chairman of the United Fresh Produce Association Board and 2013 American Vegetable Grower® magazine’s Grower Achievement Award WinnerSM Maureen Torrey with Torrey Farms of Elba, NY, participated in a roundtable discussion at the White House with President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue regarding the policy needs of rural America and the agriculture industry.
Torrey said the President was engaged in the meeting and he understands the importance agriculture has to the country.
“He said that he understands how important it is for farmers to be viable in the marketplace and it was encouraging to hear him tell Secretary Perdue that, with respect to immigration enforcement, workers who are here and have not caused any problems, but have been productive workers, should not have anything to fear,” Torrey told United Fresh. “I was also pleased to hear him acknowledge that the current federal ag guest worker program, H-2A, is broken and needs fixing. It was also good to hear him say that there needs to be a year-round solution to agriculture’s labor needs and to hear him talk about the need for a skilled ag worker program.”
The Executive Order established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity “to ensure the informed exercise of regulatory authority that impacts agriculture and rural communities.” As Secretary of Agriculture, Perdue will serve as the task force’s chairman and members will be representatives from cabinet agencies and the executive branch.
The Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity will consist of representatives of agencies across the federal government and is required to issue its recommendations within 180 days of the signing of the Executive Order.