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Vilsack Calls for Congressional Action on Farm Issues

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Vilsack speaks to NFU

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says Congress needs to pay more attention to problems facing America’s farmers. He thinks it should be a priority so

Congress needs to act soon. Tom Vilsack told National Farmers Union leadership that action on the farm bill should be a top priority.

“You do have to begin questioning whether or not this is really a priority and it ought to be a priority, because it’s not just important to rural America, it’s important to all America.”

Vilsack added that a farm bill extension does not provide needed solutions.

“It doesn’t provide the certainty that producers need to be able to make decisions and plans about expansion, about continued operation, about transfers and transitions to the next generation. You can’t do any of that unless you know what the programs are going to be.”

The secretary also said he was concerned that agriculture research, especially at universities, is not getting the attention it deserves.

“And all of those great universities that we like to brag about? Honestly I’m more concerned about the researchers than I am the football team, and everybody in America should be as well. You cannot have top notch researchers unless you invest in those researchers.”

And Vilsack said that farm operations would be hampered unless Congress acts to ensure adequate labor.

“Without comprehensive immigration reform, agriculture is going to continue to have to make decisions about contracting; not expanding. And make no mistake about it, large scale operations have already decided to move some production outside the United States.”

Vilsack reiterated his thoughts while announcing a new round of Conservation Innovation Grants on Tuesday.

Source: USDA