AUSTIN (KXAN) — President Donald Trump spoke at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s convention Sunday night at the convention center in downtown Austin.
The visit to Austin came on the heels of a new deal struck this week that will help American farmers. The deal with China will get rid of hurdles for American farmers to send chicken, beef, pork and dairy to the country. Trump is set to sign a trade agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada (USMCA) in the coming days.
After thanking the country’s Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Trump told the crowd of nearly 6,000 farmers three short words: we did it.
“My administration is fighting for the American farmer and it’s been fighting for the farmer and the rancher every single day,” Trump said. “And together, we’ve achieved something truly stunning.”
Charles Lee grows sweet potatoes, tobacco and soy beans in North Carolina. He wore a “Make Farming Great Again” hat to Trump’s speech.
“He cares about about the farmer,” Lee said.
Lee, and others, are hopeful China’s new investment of $40-$50 billion in agriculture products and the USMCA agreement will boost American exports.
“Exports of eggs to both Canada and Mexico could skyrocket by as much as 500 percent, and maybe, maybe even 1,000 percent,” Trump said. “Very importantly, Canada will finally give fair treatment to American grown wheat, which is a big deal to you people,” admitting that he did not know much about the economics of wheat.
It’s a big deal for wheat growers like North Texan Tommy Henderson, who runs cattle and grows wheat in Clay County.
“I am so thrilled that President Trump has had the backbone to do something about it for us,” Henderson said. “Yes, it may hurt for a little while but it is going to be a lot better when we get done.”
The American Farm Bureau Federation holds their annual convention and trade show in a different city every year and Austin was chosen as the location for the 101st. Next year’s convention will be held in San Diego, CA.
Watch President Trump’s full speech below:
6:45 p.m. | President Trump is back on Air Force One and leaving Austin after speaking for nearly 45 minutes at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s convention.
6:11 p.m. | As expected, President Trump is planning to repeal the Water of the United States rule.
The president says repealing the rule will allow states to set their own environmental regulations for many small waterways.
5:40 p.m. | President Trump immediately thanks the farmers at the convention. He also brought up a recent poll from the Wall Street Journal showing his approval rating among farmers is 83%.
“You feed our people. You feed our nation and you preserve our cherished American way of life,” Trump said.
5:28 p.m. | Trump is speaking to the crowd in Austin making his third appearance in the city since being elected president in 2016.
Trump says he’ll be back next year, as well, alluding to the 2020 election.
“This is my third time in a row and I promise I’ll be here next year too,” Trump said.
5 p.m. | KXAN’s Phil Prazan estimates over 1,000 people from across the country are at the Austin Convention Center to hear President Trump speak.
Leaders of the American Farm Bureau Federation expect to hear a final death knell for a national water rule the Trump administration pledged to rollback on Sunday.
The farming organizations have been some of the most vocal supporters to rollback the water rules. The change to the Waters of the U.S. rule was proposed in 2018 and would eliminate Obama-era environmental regulations for half the countries wetlands and streams, according to the EPA.
Click here to read more.
4:20 p.m. | Air Force One has touched down at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
President Trump is expected to speak at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s convention around 5 p.m.
Trump exited the plane alone clapping and waving to supporters on the tarmac. Before leaving the airport, he briefly spoke with several people.
4:07 p.m. | A small group of supporters and protesters are gathered in downtown Austin ahead of President Trump’s appearance at the Austin Convention Center.
Based off pictures and video from the area, it looks to be about 20-30 people.
3:40 p.m. | Some supporters of the president were granted the opportunity to be on the tarmac when Air Force One touches down in Austin.
Local resident Chad Wilbanks had a connection to the White House and was able to bring his two daughters with him to ABIA Sunday for the president’s arrival.
“Texas is an important state. It’s a great opportunity to show support for not only Texans, but the American Farm Bureau,” Wilbanks said about Trump’s visit.
KXAN has been told Trump could potentially walk by and speak with some supporters when he lands — something that makes the Wilbanks family excited.
“It’s exciting to see the President of the United States coming to your hometown and it ought to be celebrated,” Wilbanks said.
2:56 p.m. | Long lines are forming at the Austin Convention Center several hours before Trump’s appearance in downtown Austin. Meanwhile, supporters have gathered at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport awaiting the president’s arrival on Air Force One — scheduled some time after 4 p.m.