Vilsack Discusses Farm Bill

Earlier this month, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack commented on the upcoming Farm Bill, instructing Congress that agricultural safety nets were a vital and necessary component of any farm legislation.

The upcoming Farm Bill has worried many farmers across the United States. The Obama administration and Secretary Vilsack have pledged to let Congress write the bill, pledging to take a backseat during the Congressional debates. Given Congress’s recent penchant for budget cutting, particularly at the expense of the agricultural sector, many farmers are worried that the next Farm Bill will not contain enough agricultural support to keep the industry stable.

Despite this earlier pledge, Vilsack recently inserted himself into the ongoing debate over the Farm Bill. In a speech to the conference on rural development, sponsored by the Department of Agriculture, Vilsack stressed the fundamental unpredictability of agricultural production. Given the ability of fickle weather patterns or other unforeseen natural phenomenon to destroy crops, safety nets were vital, Vilsack claimed, to ensuring a healthy agricultural industry.

In addition, Vilsack discussed his reluctance to support Congress’s recent decision to cut $23 billion of agricultural spending. In particular, Vilsack defended the necessity of nutritional programs like Food Stamps, arguing that consumers, as well as producers, benefit greatly from agricultural safety nets.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer