USDA press secretary Justin DeJong has released the following statement in response to the recent Bloomberg/Business Week story titled “Broadband Trumps Farmer Payments in Rural Aid“:
“The Obama Administration cares deeply about our farmers and ranchers, and USDA continues to work hard and provide them with the critical support they need to provide this nation with the food, feed, fiber and fuel we rely on. Since becoming Secretary of this department, Secretary Vilsack has advocated fiercely about the need to keep American agriculture strong through farm safety net programs, as well as through efforts to spur economic opportunity in rural America. In recent interviews with a Bloomberg reporter, at NO time did Secretary Vilsack call for $5 billion cuts to farm programs. In fact, he pointed out how USDA already saved $4 billion that was put toward deficit reduction by renegotiating our agreement with crop insurance companies.
“He also discussed using existing resources more effectively to spur growth and opportunity. As Secretary Vilsack testified before both Senate and House committees regarding the 2012 Farm Bill and he continues to discuss with people throughout the country, rural America continues to face inordinate challenges. As the transcript makes clear, he continues making the case that it is imperative that we keep the farm safety net strong so that the American people can continue to have access to safe, affordable and abundant food.”