Vilsack Chastises GOP

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, in a recent speech to the Farm Service Review in London, Ohio, criticized the Republican Party, particularly Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, for putting politics ahead of the needs of the farm community.

With only eleven days left until the current farm bill expires, most American farmers have come to grips with the fact that the 2012 Farm Bill will not be passed this month. While some are cheered by pledges from agricultural leaders (like Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow) that a new farm bill can be passed by November, others have little faith left in a Congress that spent the last four months refusing to take substantive action on vital farm legislation.

Secretary Vilsack, in a stop in Ohio, blamed the GOP for the farm bill delay while simultaneously promising to do what he can for farmers until a new farm bill is passed, stating, “We will continue to express concern for our livestock producers, our dairy producers, and our specialty crop producers who do not have the benefits of crop insurance.”

Vilsack saved much of his scorn for the House GOP leadership, which has held up voting on the farm bill for fear of a revolt by fiscal conservatives and a general unwillingness to partner with Democrats on vital legislation in the middle of the 2012 election.

“There is a small group of folks who are intent on substantially reducing the commitment to rural America in order to fund other departments of government or fund tax cuts,” Vilsack said. “Why are we doing this? Why is it necessary to cut so deep in farm programs? Is it because we don’t want the defense department to make any cuts, or is it because we don’t want to raise taxes on folks who have made a great amount of money?”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer