Ag Policy Blog

In Iowa, Trump Attacks DeSantis on Ethanol Policies

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Friday as he attacked Florida's governor over ethanol policies and laid out his record in defending farmers in his term. (DTN image from livestream)

With polls showing his continued strength within the Republican Party, former President Donald Trump rallied in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Friday, launching a "Farmers for Trump" coalition and attacking his closest GOP rival in the presidential race over ethanol policies.

Trump's rally was plastered with "Farmers for Trump" signs as he made the stage Friday afternoon, launching into a rally where he repeated similar themes pointing to successes at the height of his presidency while declaring, "Our country is going to hell and we're going to take our country back."

With a strong contingent in the crowd from Nebraska as well, Trump declared farmers were better off under his presidency than now.

"I don't think any president has ever come close to me fighting for farmers and farmers' rights," Trump said.

Farm income, however, struggled under his administration driven by low commodity prices that partially were caused by Trump's trade war with China. Trump noted he took care of farmers as USDA used the Commodity Credit Corp., to provide more than $28 billion in aid payments to farmers.

"I gave the farmers $28 billion out of the tariffs that I took from China," Trump said, pointing o the tariffs his administration placed on Chinese imports. "The money came right out of the pockets of China."

Trump said the financial aid provided to farmers strengthens his support in rural America. "I gave the farmers $28 billion. How the hell do you lose?"

Trump also pointed out he overturned the Obama administration's "waters of the United States rule" and rewrote it as well, calling the rule an "outrageous power grab" that would make a puddle into regulated waters. Trump's water rule, however, also was overturned by federal courts. The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in May handed down tighter definitions for waters of the U.S. than both the Obama and Trump water rules.

On ethanol, Trump pointed out that he signed a rule creating year-round E15 ethanol at gas pumps, though that rule also was overturned in federal courts. "I fought for Iowa ethanol like no president in history."

Trump then used his support for ethanol to criticize Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, repeatedly calling the governor, "DeSanctimonious" and "DeSanctus."

"Every Iowan needs to know that Ron 'DeSanctus' totally despises Iowa ethanol and ethanol generally. He's been fighting it for years," Trump said. "Don't forget, he was a congressman he was voting against it and fighting for years to kill every job supported by this very important industry. Ending the Renewable Fuels Standard was one of his top priorities."

Trump also criticized DeSantis for vetoing a bill last month that would have provided $100 million to help Florida farmers who sign conservation easements to preserve their land from development. Trump accused DeSantis of "targeting" family farmers.

"And he's going to do that to Iowa and Nebraska and everybody else because that's his inclination," Trump told the crowd. "He would be a catastrophe for Iowa and Nebraska farmers, and everywhere else."

Trump went on to criticize President Joe Biden for high fuel and fertilizer prices, saying he would create a group to investigate fertilizer prices. Trump said he would also immediately revoke Biden's policies supporting electric vehicles.

"Within hours of my inauguration, I will cancel every Biden policy that is brutalizing our farmers. I will end the Biden assault on ethanol," Trump said.

On energy policy, Trump added, "We're going to drill, baby, drill. That's what we're going to do."

He added that, "Ethanol will be at the center of the action."

Trump also said to the roar of his crowd that he would ban China from buying farmland and other critical infrastructure as well.

Trump also declared he protected Iowa's "first in the nation" status for the Iowa caucuses. The presidential race will continue to heat up in the coming months as GOP candidates continue to aggressively campaign in states such as Iowa and New Hampshire.

Chris Clayton can be reached at

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