Vilsack Warns of Deeper Cuts to the Farm Bill

In the wake of the House’s failure to pass the 2012 Farm Bill before they adjourned for the month, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has been slamming the GOP, railing against their failure to reach a bipartisan agreement on the farm bill. In a recent statement, Vilsack warned farmers that the GOP was planning to wait until after the election to significantly increase farm-spending cuts.
For the past several months, the farm bill has dominated rural news. While the summer saw a few bright moments in the legislative debate (the House Agriculture Committee and the Senate both passed versions of the vital farm legislation), the bill remained stalled in the House for months. With the House and Senate adjourning to attend to the 2012 election, the current bill will expire and replacement legislation will not be passed until the end of November at the earliest.
Secretary Vilsack, in a recent statement made in Washington, claimed that the House was deliberately delaying the farm bill in order to pass severe farm spending cuts after the election and after the national spotlight has faded. According to Vilsack, it “is House leadership’s plan to, I think, substantially reduce the farm safety net. Not just nutrition assistance but also conservation, crop insurance and commodity programs.”
While most farm programs are funded until the end of the year, several, including safety nets for dairy farmers, will expire on October 1. In addition, once the current bill expires, farmers will no longer be able to enroll in grassland and wetland reserve programs, and USDA programs to support agricultural exports will be severely curtailed.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer