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Though uncertainty at the onset of a new president's administration isn’t unusual, the fast-paced, ever-shifting tone of President Donald Trump’s first two weeks in office made him a hot topic at the 2017 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta last week.
Vendors and attendees at the largest U.S. animal agriculture event seized every opportunity to discuss their feelings (positive and negative) at the onset of the new presidency. Many wonder how agriculture will fare under Trump. The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), for one, has its concerns, but cites its eagerness to work with the new administration.
“The greatest challenge is understanding the new leadership’s direction -- how we can support that direction and offer additional information to play a role in policy changes,” said Joel Newman, AFIA’s president/CEO. “The population voted for change and we got change and with that comes a new leadership style. We need to better understand that style and work with him.”
Trump has also been especially vocal about rolling back regulations, signing his “one in, two out” executive order last week. Newman supports the food and feed safety efforts enacted under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), but sees this as an opportunity to revisit the more “onerous” aspects of the regulations and assist in making its implementation more sound and effective.
“Food-feed safety is one of our top priorities, but we recognize that FSMA is a whole new level of regulation both for the industry and FDA to implement,” Newman explains. “We’re focused on addressing the areas that will make that more practical for implementation and still accomplish the objectives of the administration.”
AFIA recently expressed its disapproval when Trump’s campaign promise to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership became a reality.
The TPP "was a good agreement for the feed industry. Those new exports would have created new jobs in the United States and helped the overall economy,” Newman said, noting that, as the administration changes existing trade agreements and develops new ones, AFIA is at the table to ensure the animal feed industry is not losing the value of export trade.
Despite the decision to pull out of TPP, Newman is optimistic.
“There will be challenges where we’re going to need to do more work, but overall a new administration brings new opportunities for the feed and animal production industries,” Newman said.