This weekend, President Donald Trump announced plans to limit the federal government’s involvement in the regulation of states’ water supplies by rolling back a rule that, according to The Hill, was “proposed in the final days of the Obama administration.”
Former President Barack Obama had proposed changes to the so-called Water Supply Act in 2016, The Hill reported. But appearing at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 101st annual convention in Austin, Texas on Sunday, Trump said his administration wouldn’t be moving forward with those revisions, according to local ABC affiliate KVUE.
“I am directing the Corps of Engineers to immediately withdraw the proposed rule…and allow states to manage their water resources based on their own needs and based on what their farmers and ranchers want,” Trump told a reportedly cheering crowd.
He went on: “Water is the lifeblood of agriculture and we will always protect your water supply.”
“Trump needs the rural vote”
The Hill noted that Trump may have been prompted to make this move by a desire to appeal to more rural voters this November. And according to Pro Farmer policy analyst Jim Wiesemeyer, the rule change is expected to go over well among that key constituency.
A Farm Journal Pulse Poll from earlier this month found that Trump’s approval rating among those in agriculture is very strong, with some 64% of voters saying they “strongly approve” of how he is performing as president, according to AgWeb. Another 19% said they “somewhat approve.”
“Of note is the strongly approve category went up three percentage points from an already lofty [December] number and his highest overall approval ratings ever,” Wiesemeyer said, according to AgWeb. He explained that “Trump needs the rural vote to keep the same states he won in 2016 in his win column” on Election Day 2020.
“In fact, contacts say he is focusing on winning Minnesota this time as a backstop should he lose a state he won in 2016,” Wiesemeyer said. “That means agriculture will continue to be a key topic in the president’s re-election campaign.”
“America loves our farmers”
But it isn’t just Trump’s water policies that are keeping farmers happy. In his appearance in Texas on Sunday, the president also trumpeted his recent victories in the realm of international trade.
“The USMCA, as we call it, will massively boost exports for farmers, ranchers, growers and agricultural producers from north to south and from sea to shining sea,” Trump declared, referring to the trade deal he negotiated with Mexico and Canada that recently passed the U.S. Senate.
He went on to say that it’s important to “ensure that America’s farms flourish and prosper.”
“You feed our people, you fuel our nation, you sustain our land, you uphold our values, and you preserve our cherished American way of life,” Trump told the crowd on Sunday, according to KVUE. “Farmers love America, and I just want to tell you that America loves our farmers.”