Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is adding his voice to the final push for the farm bill, stating in an interview that the economy could suffer without a new five-year farm bill.
For the past several months, the farm bill has remained in limbo, with both houses of Congress having passed a draft of the bill, but with House leadership refusing to hold a floor vote or to allow the bill to move forward.
While many provisions of the farm bill are funded through the early part of 2013, many federal programs, including a host of conservation programs and dairy payment programs will expire, leaving many farmers across the country in the lurch.
Secretary Vilsack recently upped the stakes of the farm bill debate, stating that the failure to pass a new bill could damage an already struggling economy. “When you consider what rural America does: It provides most of the food, a lot of the water, almost all of the energy and fuel as well as many, many jobs connected to what happens in rural areas,” Vilsack said in an interview with CNN.
In addition, Vilsack attacked Congress for its failure to pass a new bill, stating, “It is unconscionable that we don’t have a farm bill. This is just historic.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer