Monday, January 16, 2017

An open letter to President Donald Trump January 17, 2017 

Mr. Trump, please let me begin by saying how excited those of us are who proudly call Rural America home. We want to say Thank You. You stood tall for the very values and principles the founding fathers put forth in the Constitution of the United States of America. All we have ever asked for is power for “we the people” and the “pursuit of happiness” which our forefathers envisioned.

With that said, I feel I represent the lion’s share of farmers and ranchers in this great nation who ask for your deep consideration in naming your final cabinet position, that of Secretary of Agriculture.

As Abraham Lincoln stated on May 15, 1862, the USDA shall be referred to as “The People’s Department.” And for this very reason we feel very strongly that it should be run by a real person of the land – to be specific: A Farmer.

The farmers of today are survivors. They have weathered challenges not only from Mother Nature but more severely from the Federal Government. The farmer develops a plan but understands the need to adapt to any storm and figures out a solution regardless of the obstacles.

I see the political arena sharing parallels to these challenges. The Secretary of Agriculture undoubtedly will need to be someone who has experienced adversity, learned from it and become stronger and wiser in weathering political storms.

The farmer of today has learned to judiciously implement the latest and greatest in technology. No longer can we rely on back breaking work and high labor inputs. We must run an efficient operation with each person on the team pulling their full weight and balancing many roles.

I see the same requirements for the crew chief at the USDA. The USDA currently employs 105,778 people making it the largest agency in the Federal Government. That number is tremendously troubling when a report from the Farm Foundation Organization states that only 76,000 farm families produce 80% of the food in this country.

As well as knowing agriculture, the farmer of today must be well versed in health and nutrition. With millions of acres of land planted to crops of all types, they only flourish if the organic matter of the soil is at a healthy level. The farmer must feed an ideal diet to each of the 9 billion animals they produce each year in order for them to maintain high health and efficient growth in order to be competitive in the market place.

The head chef, also known as the Secretary of Agriculture, must oversee a food guide pyramid that all institutions in the United States will follow. I must say, Sir, if the farmer fed his livestock or plants like the USDA feeds our nation’s youth, seniors or military, he would be broke. The nutrition guidelines put forth do not come close to the proven scientific recommendations available for healthy living today.

The farmers of today have moved away from a reliance upon a government subsidy and more on the basic principle of supply and demand for sustainability. We have accomplished great things through our work ethic and the knowledge gleaned from the USDA-driven Land Grant institutions so that we may produce more with less.

Meanwhile, we know that 80% of the Farm Bill goes to SNAP and only 15% is actually paid to farmers in the form of a safety net for domestic food production. It would appear to me that the farmer would be the perfect person to run the USDA and implement this reduced reliance strategy for the nation as a whole. This would go a long way in decreasing the 94 million Americans that currently draw some form of government assistance.

While I could go on for quite some time with a logical list of reasons that an actual farmer should be the Secretary of Agriculture, this one statement summarizes it best.

When Abraham Lincoln created the USDA it took in excess of 5 acres of land to produce enough food to feed one person for a single year. As you begin your term in 2017, it will require less than 1/3 of an acre for the farmer to produce the same supply of food for one person for one year.

While it is widely known in Rural America that “God made a farmer” to tend to his creation, we ask and even pray that you understand the importance of that statement and give serious consideration to continuing the great thing that God started.

Trent Loos

Loup City, Nebraska
6th United States Farmer
Member Trump Agricultural Advisory Committee

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Photo taken Jan 12, 2023 at 9:29 pm