king cake

Advocate photo by Tyler Bridges -- U.S. Rep. Garrett Graves hold a king cake meant for President Donald Trump, who was in New Orleans to speak at the Farm Bureau convention. 

The Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation is the state's largest general farm organization with nearly 140,000 member families across the state. It's a grassroots organization, which serves as the voice of Louisiana Agriculture. We are fortunate to have strong, involved voices in Washington, D.C. working for Louisiana's farmers and ranchers in our congressional delegation.

I was proud to see U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy join U.S. Reps. Steve Scalise, Ralph Abraham, and Garret Graves on the tarmac to greet President Donald Trump recently in New Orleans. It gave our delegation a chance to talk to the president about the economic struggles facing our farmers and the concerns all in agriculture have about getting legal immigrant farm labor in a timely fashion to do the seasonal jobs that are not supported by a local workforce.

I was seated with my wife Vivian directly in front of Trump when he spoke at the 100th annual meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation. I felt a sense of pride when the president pointed out Senator Cassidy and praised his knowledge of healthcare.

I learned that our junior senator has a new nickname: "Oxford John." And everyone in the audience, even those from outside Louisiana, clapped and stood for Scalise when Trump spoke about the shooting on the baseball field that nearly took the congressman's life and how Scalise recovered and returned to the ball field the following year.

Louisiana's farmers and ranchers know agriculture is an $11 billion industry, which supports more than 275,000 jobs. They are well aware that 60 percent of all grain exported from the United States travels down the Mississippi River and leaves via the Port of New Orleans. Louisiana Farm Bureau members also know who is representing them on Capitol Hill and will always go to the polls to voice their support with their votes.

Ronald R. Anderson

president, Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation

Baton Rouge