Farmers across the country are reacting with varying degrees of shock and confusion to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s comments last week about the declining influence of the rural community.
Last week, Secretary Vilsack made a controversial statement about the declining power of rural communities and the farm industry. He acknowledged that the failures of the farm bill reflected this declining influence, citing it as proof that lawmakers are growing less and less concerned with the needs of the agricultural community.
In addition, Vilsack argued that this declining influence was partly the result of a divided rural community that is sometimes plagued by divisive infighting and paranoia, pointing to widespread fears that the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Agriculture were planning to regulate dust.
Reaction to these comments has been shock and confusion. Deputy director for public policy at the Farm Bureau Dale Moore stated, “It is a bit frustrating. The reason that a farm bill didn’t get done is because ag doesn’t understand it doesn’t have 218 automatic yes votes doesn’t do service to a lot of hard work by farm and commodity groups, but also by members of Congress every day.” Moore also implied that Vilsack and his wife Christine, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in November, were being influenced by the Humane Society and other animal rights organizations (pointing to Christine Vilsack’s support from the Humane Society of the US over her opponent Steve King).
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer