President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on Tuesday that looks to help the US agriculture business by establishing a task force to identify impediments to the business’ growth.
Trump will sign the executive order after a meeting with 15 farmers from across the country, including Zippy Duvall, the president of the American Farm Bureau; Bill Northey, the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture; and Lisa Johnson Billy, a farmer and former Oklahoma House member.
The executive order, according to Ray Starling, special assistant to the President for agriculture, will require the task force, led by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, to produce a report for the President in 180 days on the impediments to farming in the United States. The task force will be made up of White House and administration staff.
Among the issues the farmers want to discuss with the President: Immigration and trade.
“There is certainly language in the EO that talks about how do we ensure access to a reliable workforce. I suspect tomorrow that is something that a number of folks will bring up with the President,” Starling said.
And on trade, Starling said the farmers want to make sure the President understands “how important that agriculture trade is,” especially trade with Canada and Mexico.
All this comes as Trump tries to crack down on illegal immigration to the United States, an issue that could leave many farms short-staffed due to their reliance on foreign — and sometimes, undocumented — workers.
“That is a problem, a constant issue for agriculture that is not new,” Starling said. “It is perhaps more pressing now.”
The executive order also sunsets the White House Rural Council, an Obama-era project that was meant to focus federal programs serving rural areas.