Risky Gamble

Presidential campaigns are always filled with several interesting twists and turns and require some difficult decisions especially when you add in a pandemic like COVID 19.

Political and social differences are front and center as people decide who they will vote for in November.  Four years ago Donald Trump ran as an outsider and his promise to shake things up appealed to many.  Of course, some haven’t been happy with how he shook things up and seem ready to go back more to the way things were before the last election.  It’s been well documented that farmers and rural America played an important part in President Trump’s election.  It remains to be seen if they will play a similar role in his bid for re-election.

Four years ago many farmers said the selection of judges (especially to the Supreme Court) and Waters of the US were top priorities for them. President Trump has been able to place several judges of his choice on the bench although some recent court decisions have no doubt left him rethinking some of his choices.  Also we now finally have a new WOTUS rule in place (except in Colorado) replacing the controversial 2015 rule.  While the new rule will still face some legal challenges, the Trump administration deserves credit for its persistent effort in fulfilling a campaign pledge and getting the rule across the finish line.  WOTUS has been one of those rare cases where agriculture and EPA have been on the same side.  However, it is another issue also involving EPA that threatens to cost President Trump the support of many in rural America in this election.

Like President Obama before him, President Trump has allowed his EPA to undermine the Renewable Fuels Standard.  In an attempt to make both the oil and biofuels industries happy, President Trump is risking the support of his rural base.  Through two EPA administrators, the Trump administration has allowed questionable waivers to the RFS to be granted even after a federal court ruled against them.  Now to make the situation even worse, EPA is considering granting several more waivers retroactively.  This of course coming at a time when the biofuels industry is facing the worst crisis in its history causing several plants to be idled resulting in lost jobs and markets and negatively impacting farmers and rural economies.  President Trump is taking a big political gamble.  He seems to be counting on MFP and CFAP payments to be enough to convince farmers to continue to support him but he may be underestimating how strongly many people feel about this issue especially those already weary of trade wars and low prices.  President Trump has repeatedly stated his support for farmers and the biofuels industry be his EPA’s actions have often not matched his words.

Our country is currently facing a crisis over law and order that will certainly play a big part in this year’s election.  The biofuels industry and rural America are calling for President Trump to follow the law and order his EPA to do the same when it comes to the Renewable Fuels Standard.  This of course is only one of many important issues that will determine the outcome of this election but it is a key issue for a segment of our country that had a lot to say about the last one.