During a meeting with farmers and ranchers in Washington, D.C., President Donald Trump pledged today that his administration, including newly installed Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, would work to address critical challenges faced by agriculture, according to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall.

Duvall was among 14 farmers and ranchers from across the country who met at the White House today with Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Perdue for a roundtable discussion. The meeting, held on the day Perdue was sworn into office, included a discussion on pressing issues for American agriculture, such as trade, labor, regulatory reform and rural infrastructure.

“Not only was President Trump receptive to our concerns, but he pledged action,” Duvall said. “He even looked toward Secretary Perdue and said, ‘Let’s get these problems fixed.’ Today, agriculture had not just one but many seats at the table to share with the president how access to international markets, farm labor shortages and burdensome regulations impact not only the day-to-day business of our farmers and ranchers, but also the millions of jobs agriculture supports.”

Attendees at the meeting:

  • Luke Brubaker of Pennsylvania, dairy farmer and chair of the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board          
  • Hank Choate of Michigan, dairy farmer
  • Tom Demaline of Ohio, president of Willoway Nurseries and vice chair, AmericanHort 
  • Zippy Duvall of Georgia, beef cattle and poultry farmer, president, American Farm Bureau Federation
  • Valerie Earley of Minnesota, recent graduate of the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences; National FFA officer (central region vice president), 2016-2017  
  • Lynetta Griner of Florida, owner/operator of Usher Land and Timber, president of the Florida Forestry Association
  • A.G. Kawamura of California, third-generation fruit and vegetable grower and shipper from Orange County; former secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture; current board member, Western Growers Association
  • James “Cookie” Lamb of North Carolina, hog farmer          
  • Bill Northey of Iowa, corn and soybean farmer and secretary, Iowa Department of Agriculture
  • Jose Rojas of Colorado, vice president of farm operations at Hormel Foods
  • Terry Swanson of Colorado, owner of Swanson Farms
  • Maureen Torrey of New York, fresh market vegetable farmer
  • Steve Troxler of North Carolina, farmer and commissioner of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services       
  • Lisa Johnson-Billy, former member of the Oklahoma state house, small-farm background

During the meeting, President Trump signed an executive order that acknowledges a reliable, safe, and affordable food, fiber and forestry supply is critical to America’s national security, stability and prosperity.

The order also establishes an interagency task force, to be chaired by Secretary Perdue, charged with identifying legislative, regulatory and policy changes that would enhance American agriculture, rural economic development, job growth, infrastructure improvements, technological innovation, energy security and quality of life in rural America. The report from the task force is due within 180 days.

Today’s event is a historic occasion, as it is believed the last time such a diverse group of farmers met with a U.S. president this early in an administration was prior to the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.