North Dakota state Rep. Mike Brandenburg, Edgeley, N.D., has been on an agricultural advisory committee he’s on for the new Trump/Pence administration. The advisory committee was particularly active in pushing the Trump agenda in states like Iowa and Michigan, and not so much in states like North Dakota where a presidential election victory was more assured.
Gary H. Baise, a Washington, D.C., environmental attorney put together the advisory committee — “a resource group … every one an ag producer.” Since the election, Baise called Brandenburg to assure him that now President-elect Trump wants to live up to his promise of eliminating the Waters of the United States (WOTUS), which involves agriculture, coal and oil. A multi-state lawsuit litigated in North Dakota. Baise says governments’ briefs are due Jan. 18. Baise is in contact with state ag commissioners and attorneys general in active states. Brandenburg says he thinks the litigation will help drive the other possible legislative or administrative solutions.
Baise is the principal attorney at Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz, PC, in Washington, D.C. He is co-head of the litigation practice and specializes in Clean Water Act (CWA), Clean Air Act (CAA), National Environmental Policy Act, Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA) litigation as well as agricultural corporate governance issues. He worked in the Nixon administration and was the first chief of the staff to the first Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator and was director of the EPA’s office of litigation.
Baise was recruited for the effort by committee co-chair Sam Clovis, a Sioux City, Iowa, political advisor on leave for a year as an economics professor at Morningside College where he directs a center for civic engagement. Clovis made headlines when he helped develop Trump’s proposed national policy to limit Muslim immigration. The other co-chair is Charles Herbster a Falls City, Neb., cattleman and businessman. Herbster owns Herbster Angus Farms, Inc.; North American Breeders, Inc.; and Conklin Company Inc., an ag manufacturer/retailer based in Shakopee, Minn.
Any ongoing role for the group will likely be consultative, Baise says, in that the administration will be in place. He says about 10 of the advisory members have far-flung enterprises to run, and many will not be willing to pay the price to become a secretary. However, he says some that have been governors have already made those changes and might be some that could be available. He added the government might consider changes in conflict-of-interest requirements so the best business-wise leaders would be available. Brandenburg says he’s not looking for any appointed role. There are about 250 slots to fill just in agriculture.
Here are talking points written by Clovis, edited by Baise, summarizing input from the committee last summer:
- Advancing agriculture and rural America will be a high priority for the Trump administration.
- A strong economy will be assured through fundamental tax reform that will allow Americans, especially those involved in agriculture, to keep more money for their families and businesses.
- Appointing judges to the Supreme Court who will protect our Bill of Rights, will also be judges who protect property, water and mineral rights for farmers and ranchers.
- A Trump administration will work tirelessly to make America energy independent. Lowering the cost of production for agricultural products will benefit all Americans.
- The Trump administration will work with Congress to ensure that the Interstate Commerce Clause is enforced to keep individual states from dictating policy for food growers in the United States.
- The Trump-Pence Secretary of Agriculture will defend American Agriculture against its critics, particularly those who have never grown or produced anything beyond a backyard tomato plant.
- A Trump administration Secretary of Agriculture will have a seat at the table whenever any decision impacting rural America is made, including key environmental decisions. All segments of the agriculture industry will have a say in the development of any legislation or rule making done or supported by the executive branch.
- Upon taking office, Trump-Pence will immediately pull back several job-killing Obama/Clinton regulations, including WOTUS that threaten U.S. agriculture. Furthermore, President Trump’s EPA Administrator will help, not hinder, farm and rural business (to) grow and create jobs. The next EPA Administrator should be an individual that fully understands and embraces the complexity of agriculture and rural issues.
- Trump-Pence will use the best available science to determine appropriate regulations for the food and agriculture sector; agriculture will NOT be regulated based upon the latest trend on social media.
- Trump-Pence Administration will be an active participant in writing the next Farm Bill and delivering it on time! Our farmers deserve a good farm bill written by those who are thankful for our remarkable food system in this country.
- Trump/Pence believe that death should not be a taxable event and no business should have to be sold in order to pay estate taxes.
- A Trump/Pence Presidency will negotiate better trade deals for our manufacturing sector while continuing to protect and defend our vital agricultural export markets.
- A Trump/Pence Presidency will be a strong proponent of energy independence and will support a strong rule for biofuels in providing energy to the U.S. and others on the planet.
- President Trump recognizes that much of American agriculture depends upon foreign-born workers to harvest crops and help care for animals. President Trump will stop the illegality at the U.S. border, and will include America’s farmers and ranchers in determining the best possible immigration policies that ensure national security while protecting the economy.