Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Farmers, ranchers have ‘unprecedented’ meeting with Ag, Interior secretaries

Farmers and ranchers described a private meeting with two of President Donald Trump’s cabinet members June 2 as unprecedented and historic. Instead of addressing the group, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke listened and took notes, according to those who were there. “They just didn’t have an agenda. They truly wanted to listen to us,” said Aberdeen potato farmer Ritchey Toevs. “It was a pro-producer meeting. It was a completely different experience than I’ve ever had.” “They didn’t really say much. They let us do the talking,” said Jerome dairyman Mike Roth. “I feel like I witnessed a little bit of history today.” Idaho Farm Bureau Federation President Bryan Searle, a farmer from Shelley, said he was floored by the nature of the meeting. “I’m still in shock that they didn’t talk. They just flat-out sat there and listened,” he said. During the hour-long meeting, the producers were given 5 minutes each to present. They covered a wide range of topics, from immigration and the importance of labor to aquifer recharge, Food Safety Modernization Act requirements, NAFTA, the U.S. Sheep Experiment station in Dubois, invasive water species, farm bill funding, the Endangered Species Act, Equal Access to Justice Act and grazing and other federal land-management issues...more

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