Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack recently spoke at the Commodity Classic, delivering rousing speech in which he called on Congress to “do their job” and let farmers focus on farming rather than lobbying.
For the past year, the farm bill has been mired in Congress. Despite some important progress early last summer (with the full Senate and the House Agriculture Committee passing versions of the bill) the House refused to hold a vote, letting the bill die in committee.
With most of Washington’s attention currently focused on sequestration spending and budget fights, and with a government shutdown fight looming at the end of the month, it appears increasingly unlikely that Congress will pass a new farm bill soon.
During his remarks at the Commodity Classic, Vilsack attacked Congress for their reckless behavior and their inability to govern. “In a modern, democratic society [sequestration] should not happen. The short-term damage and potential long-term damage is too great to risk,” Vilsack said.
“Here in Florida, the multi-billion dollar citrus industry has a serious problem with citrus greening that has put some areas of the state virtually out of the business. A USDA research team recently found commonly occurring dead bacteria that kills the insect that vectors citrus greening disease. That’s just one example of the kind of research we need to invest in as a nation,” Vilsack added.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer