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Source: Iowa Soybean Association news release

While many in the agriculture industry are holding their breath after President Trump's withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) this week, Ron Heck isn't worried.

The former Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) Board president told farmers at the ISA District Advisory Committee day that he was optimistic about Trump's presidency and hopeful despite his decision to cancel TPP.

The Perry farmer served on Trump's agriculture advisory committee during the campaign where he was one of 70 committee members who provided insight on policy affecting agriculture. Heck worked with the group to gain consensus and develop a two-page, 18-point document for that became the foundation of President Trump's ag platform and speeches.

Heck said the advisory committee told the now president how important trade was to agriculture, which was reiterated by ISA and other industry organizations this week. However, Heck ultimately understood that withdrawing from the TPP was the best option for the new president.

"Without the support of Congress for the existing TPP proposal, Trump had no opportunity to negotiate a better deal," Heck said. "So now he woke everyone up and said 'There's a new negotiator, anyone want to come to the table?' We are the ones with the trade deficit and are buying all their products, so I think they'll want to talk."

As the presidency gets underway, Heck is particularly excited about some of Trump's agricultural picks.

"We are thrilled to have Sonny Perdue from Georgia as Secretary of Agriculture," Heck said. "Terry Branstad was also another brilliant pick, couldn't have done it better myself."

Sonny Perdue, current governor of Georgia, grew up on a row crop farm in rural Georgia and has ties that bode well for agriculture. Iowa's governor, Terry Branstad also grew up on a farm and has a long history of valuing the contributions of the state's strong agriculture industry, not to mention a strong relationship with China's president, Xi Jinping.

Additionally, Heck, a National Biodiesel Board member, is confident that biofuels will fare well under the new administration, with one caveat.

"The Trump Administration will support biofuels as long as we continue to remind them of our support, but we still need to remind Congress to do their part," Heck said. "You never know how this is going to work out."

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