Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is continuing his solitary campaign in support of the 2013 Farm Bill. For the past year, Vilsack has been pressuring lawmakers, reminding them of the potentially devastating consequences of a failure to pass a new five-year bill.
For the past several months, farmers have been in a state of limbo regarding the farm bill. With efforts to pass a five-year farm bill narrowly failing last summer (with the Senate passing a bill and the House Agriculture Committee approving a draft, only to see that draft die in committee) and with the bulk of congressional attention remaining focused on debt battles and a potential government shutdown, many farmers are convinced that no action will be taken by the federal government until the fall.
Despite the congressional logjam, Vilsack has been relentlessly touring the country, speaking at length to farmers about the need to pass a new farm bill. In a recent stop in Georgia, Vilsack met with farmers to address the precarious situation facing many members of the agricultural community.
“Anybody who thinks we don’t need a safety net needs his head examined,” said Vilsack. “USDA is now operating at $1.1 billion below the level it had when I became secretary in 2009, and there are likely to be furloughs at local FSA offices.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer