The Indiana connection to the Trump White House may not end with VP-elect Mike Pence, current Indiana Governor. Several with agriculture ties are being talked about as possible cabinet picks, like Forrest Lucas of Lucas Oil and Protect the Harvest. According to Politico.com, he is being seriously considered for Interior Secretary. The online destination also mentions five Hoosiers as possible ag secretary candidates, including former Indiana Farm Bureau president Don Villwock. Bob Young with American Farm Bureau mentioned his name Wednesday morning.
“A number of governors on that list, Brandstad (Terry-Iowa) being one. You’ve got a number of other state directors of agriculture on the list. We’ve got a former state Farm Bureau president on that list, Don Villwock. Any number of these folks would be wonderful individuals to participate from this list of 70 folks from his (Trump’s) ag council.”
Politico also names Mike McCloskey from Fair Oaks Farms, Chuck Conner from Benton County, northern Indiana farmer Kip Tom and Ted McKinney as possible ag secretary selections. McKinney is the current director at the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, and Connor is a former deputy and acting secretary at USDA during the George W. Bush years. He is now the president and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.
Young from American Farm Bureau joined others, including Roger Johnson from the National Farmers Union on an agriculture panel reacting to the election. They were asked if Congress would vote on TPP during the lame duck session.
“I don’t think so,” said Johnson. “Had Hillary been elected odds would have been better, but even those were difficult. But with Trump I just don’t see it happening.”
Young added it was “very unlikely. Like any good prognosticator you try to hedge and if this last day didn’t give you a reason to say you better hedge, but I think very unlikely that it comes up in lame duck. We would very much like to see it happen but I just think it is very unlikely at this stage of the game.”
The panel at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention in Kansas City all agreed that there are many unknowns ahead with this new administration, politically and for agriculture.