President Donald Trump is expected to tout his administration's plans for rural America next week, when he makes his second visit to Middle Tennessee since taking office a year ago.
The president is scheduled to deliver a speech around lunchtime to the American Farm Bureau Federation's 99th annual convention, a gathering of 7,000 farmers, suppliers and others in the agriculture industry at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. Trump's appearance is meant to be apolitical and closed to all but convention-goers, but protests are planned outside the venue.
The AFBF invites the White House to its gathering every year, but it's been a quarter century since a president has accepted, says Dale Moore, the organization's executive director for public policy.
"We're viewing it as a sign from the president that he supports agriculture," Moore says. "We had a very pleasant surprise when the White House folks called and said the president has considered the invitation and looks forward to visiting with the Farm Bureau members."
The last president to speak at the Farm Bureau convention was George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s. He came twice.
It's not clear what Trump will say to the group. Convention organizers would like him to discuss his administration's rural economic development initiatives. And they plan to ask him to put his full weight behind a new farm bill — the legislation passed every five years or so that funds agricultural programs.
The current farm bill is set to expire later this year.