WASHINGTON, Aug. 16, 2016 - Donald Trump’s campaign has set up a geographically diverse team of agricultural leaders that includes congressmen, governors, state agriculture commissioners, trade association leaders and producers of grain, livestock, poultry and fruits and vegetables. 

“The men and women on the committee will provide pioneering new ideas to strengthen our nation’s agricultural industry as well as provide support to our rural communities,” noted the campaign in a release today. “Mr. Trump understands the critical role our nation’s agricultural community plays in feeding not only our country, but the world, and how important these Americans are to powering our nation’s economy.”

As Agri-Pulse has previously reported, Charles W. Herbster is chairing Trump’s Agricultural and Rural Advisory Committee, guided by National Chief Policy Advisor Sam Clovis. See more in this video about the leaders of Trump’s Ag Team

Herbster, a Trump contributor, has an Angus breeding operation and farm in Nebraska and owns the Conklin Co., a network marketing company involved in agronomic services and other products.

The governors on the Committee are Terry Branstad of Iowa, Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota, Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota, Mary Fallin of Oklahoma and Pete Ricketts of Nebraska and Sam Brownback of Kansas.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (a former Texas agriculture commissioner) also is included on the council as well as former Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue and James Gilmore, former governor of Virginia.

The agriculture advisory council also includes one former agriculture secretary, John Block; a former deputy secretary during the George W. Bush administration, Jim Moseley; a former assistant Army secretary under Bush who oversaw the Army Corps of Engineers, John Paul Woodley; Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan.; and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas.

Other members of Congress on the list: Alabama Rep. Robert Aderholt, Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis, and Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte. 

The current state agriculture secretaries, commissioners and directors included: Sid Miller of Texas, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, Mark Killian of Arizona, Sid Miller of Texas, Ryan Quarles of Kentucky, Jim Reese of Oklahoma, Mike Strain of Louisiana, Ted McKinney of Indiana, Bill Northey of Iowa, Gary Black of Georgia and Walt Whitcomb of Maine. Also on the team is A.G. Kawamura, a former California agriculture secretary and third-generation fruit and vegetable grower in Orange County.

Agribusiness and trade associations are represented on the committee by Chuck Conner, CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, Tom Nassif, CEO of Western Growers and Rebeckah Adcock, Senior Director for government affairs at CropLife, 

The farm leaders on the committee include Garry Niemeyer of Auburn, Ill., a former president of the National Corn Growers Association who is on the board of The Waterways Council; Marcus Rust, CEO of Seymour, Ind.-based Rose Acres Farms; and Michael J. McCloskey, co-founder and CEO of Select Milk Producers, the nation’s sixth largest milk cooperative and chairman of the board for Fair Oaks Farm in northwest Indiana. 

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Other producers backing Trump include Jay Armstrong, a grain and soybean producer at Muscotah, Kan., who is former chairman of the Farm Foundation; Steve Foglesong, a cattle producer and feedlot operator at Astoria, Ill., former president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Steve Wellman and Ron Heck, both former presidents of the American Soybean Association.

Others: Brent Jackson of Autryville, N.C., a fruit and vegetable grower; Johnny Trotter, president and general manager of Bar-G Feedyards, a 125,000-head cattle feeding operation near Hereford, Texas, Kip Tom, CEO of Tom Farms in Indiana, Bruce Rastetter, CEO of Summit Ag Group in Iowa, and John Kautz, CEO of Ironstone Vineyards in California.

Also included on the council is Tsosie Lewis, an agricultural consultant in New Mexico and former CEO of Navajo Agricultural Products Industry, the Navajo Nation’s agribusiness operation.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, who married Marion, Ark., soybean grower Boyce Johnson last year, is on the council, too. Rutledge spoke in support of Trump at the Republican convention.

Brian Klippenstein, a former Senate aide who is executive director of Protect the Harvest, an organization formed to fight animal rights organizations. The group was founded by Forrest Lucas, who started Lucas Oil Products Inc. and who is also listed as a member of the agricultural advisory committee.

Despite the geographic diversity, the Trump team has strong Indiana ties, including McCloskey, Moseley, Rust, Tom, Conner and Lucas.

For the full committee list, click here


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