NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TENNESSEAN) -- In what the White House is calling his "first major policy address" since passage of the Republican tax plan, President Donald Trump is expected use his speech to farmers in Nashville to outline efforts to boost agriculture and rural prosperity.
Trump's remarks to the American Farm Bureau Federation on Monday will cover a wide array of topics, including the expiring farm bill, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the roll out of recommendations from a task force charged with working on agriculture and rural issues.
Trump's return to Music City — his second since entering office — will coincide with the release of recommendations from the task force established in April 2017.
White House officials said Friday the task force's recommendations will feature five main components:
- Enhancing broadband access and commercial connections in the country's rural areas;
- Improving quality of life, including addressing opioids, education and recreation;
- Generating a reliable workforce;
- Advancing technological innovations;
- Economic development.
"I'll steal a little thunder from the report," said Ray Starling, special assistant to the president for agriculture, trade and food assistance. "There's a sentence in the opening that states that, 'While other sectors of the American economy have largely recovered from the Great Recession, rural America has lagged in almost every indicator.'"
The task force's report is also expected to include portions focused on trade in an effort to ensure the nation's agriculture industry is on a level playing field around the globe.
Trump has frequently blamed countries like China for "taking advantage" of the United States in terms of trade.
Starling called Trump's address to the farm bureau the "first major policy address" the president has made since the passage of the tax bill. Starling said Trump will likely note that fact, as well as touch upon the ongoing opioid epidemic that has ravaged the country.
Last fall, the president directed the Department of Health and Human Services to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency.
Among the other topics the president is expected to discuss will be the farm bill — omnibus legislation that governs food and agriculture programs. It is not clear whether Trump will delve into great detail on the legislation, which is set to expire in September, or simply encourage Congress to take action.
White House officials also said Trump could touch upon NAFTA. Trump has frequently targeted NAFTA for criticism and has said he is working to renegotiate the international trade agreement.
Although immigration is not expected to have a major part in the president's speech, officials said the task force's forthcoming recommendations are expected to address some aspects of the issue.
Trump, the the first president to address the American Farm Bureau Federation since George H.W. Bush in 1992, is set to speak at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center around 3 p.m.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, a former Georgia governor, is expected to introduce the president.
Joining Trump on Air Force One for the Nashville trip will be U.S. Sen. Bob Corker and U.S. Reps. Diane Black, Marsha Blackburn and Phil Roe, all Tennessee Republicans.
Trump is then expected to head to Atlanta to attend Monday night's College Football Playoff national championship game.