Congress returns from its August recess on Sept. 9 and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack hopes they have a plan to actually pass a farm bill.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is tired of having to talk about the farm bill. "It is a sad state of affairs that we didn’t take the month of August to work out the differences between the Senate and the House versions on the farm programs."
He says too much time has been wasted considering there is still not a farm bill ready to be signed.
Congress returns from its August recess on Sept. 9.
"We need Congress to act on the farm bill and provide our producers with a 5-year certainty on what the farm programs will be," Vilsack says. "An extension is just an excuse for continued failure. The Senate has passed the farm bill twice. The House needs to step it up."
Vilsack says if another extension is enacted, producers could really suffer. "The price for an extension may be the elimination of direct payments," he says. "Instead of taking the resources from an elimination of a portion of direct payments, and applying it to a new safety net, it could all be applied to deficit reduction. That’s a real risk."
A program that Vilsack does not believe will suffer is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program. "Everybody knows we won’t have a $40-billion cut in SNAP," he says. "A lot of folks believe it is a bad idea to separate the nutrition programs from the food programs."
Hear Vilsack’s full commentary as he visits with AgriTalk’s Mike Adams:
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