Kansas City, Mo. Lawrence area farmers liked President Bush's agricultural message Monday, but pointed out that he didn't mention two critical farming issues the economy and the federal budget.
"Although many important agriculture issues were covered by the president, there were many he didn't cover," said Mark Wulfkuhle, president of the Douglas County Farm Bureau. "The budget and the economy he didn't touch on those at all."
Wulfkuhle was one of about 30 Lawrence area Farm Bureau members who heard the president speak Monday at the 73rd annual American Farm Bureau Federation convention here.
More than 5,000 Farm Bureau members from across the country are attending the five-day convention, which runs through Thursday.
BUSH SAID Europe is hiding behind an "Iron Curtain of protectionism" and said he would block any trade agreement that is unfair to American farmers.
Trudy and Ron Rice of Lawrence said they agreed with Bush's position on free trade and open markets.
``I was glad he mentioned world trade," Mrs. Rice said. "Probably the only thing he didn't mention was the fiscal budget the fiscal budget has a lot of problems right now.''
Monday marked the second time the Rices have heard Bush deliver a speech. The first, they said, was at the national Farm Bureau convention two years ago in Orlando, Fla.
"He was newly elected then, and I thought it was more of a campaign speech," Mrs. Rice said. "I think he addressed the group with their concerns much better this time."
SHE SAID it's an honor to have the president speak to the organization.
"It shows that he cares about people in the Midwest."
Dennis Hupe, Perry, vice president of the Kansas Farm Bureau, said he agreed with Bush's stance on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which is now being negotiated. Bush wants European governments to lower the amount of subsidies they give farmers to prop up prices.
"We realize that we won't get zero subsidies from the Europeans, but we're trying to get it down to 35 to 50 percent," Hupe said. "It's just whether they come through or not."
Asked whether Bush or Congress is doing enough for farmers, Charlene Winter, Lecompton, said, "A lot of things could be done, but it all costs money and we'd like to keep taxes down."
THE CONVENTION, held in Bartle Hall and Municipal Auditorium in downtown Kansas City, Mo., features nearly 100 exhibits on various aspects of farming from farmers' health tips to the latest in tractor technology.
In addition, there are workshops on topics such as wetlands, animal rights and the 1992 presidential campaign.