USDA’s Farm Bill Priorities Unveiled At Commodity Classic

For the third consecutive year, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack addressed attendees of Commodity Classic’s General Session on Friday.

The topic this year focused on strengthening agriculture and rural economies.

Beginning his address by thanking the farmers in attendance, Vilsack acknowledged the huge contribution agriculture makes to the nation by providing an abundant, affordable food supply. Transitioning into his broader remarks, Vilsack shared the story of his recent interaction with a farmer and disabled veteran of the Iraq war noting the inspirational passion for agriculture that this Delaware pepper grower shared.

“The first and most important thing that we can do this year is to pass a farm bill and pass it now,” said Vilsack. “This job of writing and passing an equitable farm bill is not an easy task, but waiting for 2013 is not going to be any easier. It is incumbent both upon myself and upon you that we send a clear message to our representatives that we must do this now. “

Vilsack then addressed the principles which must be included in this legislation. First, he stressed the importance of ensuring farmers have a strong safety net through the crop insurance system. Noting that crop insurance now only protects to a point, he said that it would be necessary for Congress to bridge the current gaps to provide assistance to those who need it in real time so that they are able to maintain the farm through a crisis.

He then noted that the farm bill must incorporate a commitment to markets by maintaining our export programs. Last year, he explained that the United States exported nearly $137 billion worth of agricultural goods. He advocated for the confrontation of trade barriers and maintenance of key relationships with overseas partners.

Vilsack spoke to other important markets for agricultural production emphasizing the incredible potential of the bio-based economy for rural areas, to the importance of stable, well-designed conservation programs and to the need for investment in continued research.

Transitioning from farm bill issues, he acknowledged the importance of credit and tax policy to farmers. Vilsack called for Congress to remove the barriers to farming including land transfer and start-up capital that will help usher in the next generation in agriculture.

Finally, the Secretary spoke to the incredible role that biofuels play in improving our energy and national security. Pointing to improvements made over the past three years that have reduced U.S. oil imports to their lowest level in many years, Vilsack directly, emphatically spoke to his support of the Renewable Fuel Standard 2. He noted that White House calls for the increased usage of biofuels would decrease imports of foreign oil by a full 18 percent, the exact amount which is currently imported from Middle Eastern countries. Vilsack called for support of the industry that could reduce energy dependence on volatile regions. Calling upon attendees not only to show their support but to help spread the understanding that biofuels currently reduce prices at the pump by one dollar per gallon, he again thanked rural America for its contribution.

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

One comment on “USDA’s Farm Bill Priorities Unveiled At Commodity Classic

  1. There should also be noted the serious concern that using biofuel reduces food supply by deferring it to fuel, adding to the food supply dilemma. Second, holding petroleum out for the bio fuel mix, in essence adds to the shortage of petroleum which could be used for gasoline. The E fuels concept does not take this into consideration, nor the fact that it takes more energy to produce them than it saves. Miles per gallon are significantly lower in E fuels and, in may cases are not less expensive at the pump. Considering these questions, wouldn't farmers be better off concentrating on food production and leave the fuel supply to another source? No doubt the revenue opportunity exists for growers, but is it a viable solution? If so, how do we overcome those alternative costs mentioned here before?

Legislation Stories

LegislationUSDA: Quick Implementation Of Disaster Assistance Programs A ‘Top Priority’
July 9, 2014
USDA has processed 106,000 payments to farmers in 40 states across the country who suffered livestock and grazing losses between Oct. 2011 and passage of the 2014 Farm Bill. Read More
LegislationTFI Praises White House For Signing WRRDA Into Law
June 11, 2014
The bill streamlines U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects, prioritizes authorized waterway improvements and provides needed adjustments to the Inland Waterways Trust Fund. Read More
LegislationAg Policy: Plenty Of Fertilizer Issues Ahead
January 2, 2014
From West Fertilizer to the Chesapeake Bay, fertilizer producers and dealers are keeping an eye on several Beltway developments in 2014. Read More
LegislationLack Of Farm Bill Leaves Farmers Facing Uncertainty In 2014
December 13, 2013
With just a few legislative working days remaining in 2013, the likelihood of a new farm bill is waning, leaving farmers in limbo once again. Read More

Trending Articles

Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScience
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Offers New Support For Ferguson, Area Communities
October 8, 2014
Monsanto Co. has committed $1 million in new support for several collaborative efforts in Ferguson, MO, and surrounding communities in North St. Louis County. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnapproved Genetically Modified Wheat Found In Montana
October 3, 2014
USDA reports that one year after discovery of Monsanto's unapproved wheat in a single Oregon field disrupted U.S. wheat export sales, the GMO wheat has again been found in Montana. Read More
Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
The deadline to vote for the 2014 CropLife IRON Product of the Year is October 31. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More

Latest News

InsecticidesValent U.S.A., MGK Form Marketing Agreement
October 24, 2014
Valent has formed an agreement with Minneapolis-based MGK to manage the marketing and sales of MGK’s crop protection line of insect control products within the U.S. beginning April 1, 2015. Read More
StewardshipFlorida’s 4R Advocate Keeps Improving
October 24, 2014
Florida farmer Alan Jones uses the 4R principles of nutrient stewardship as the core of his fertility program, which allows him to maximize production and keep costs in check. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Named One Of The World’s Best Multinational …
October 23, 2014
Monsanto ranked No. 8 in the world’s largest annual study of workplace excellence that identifies the top 25 best multinational companies in terms of workplace culture. Read More
Crop InputsArysta Hires Former Agri-Chem, CPS Employee For Delta S…
October 23, 2014
New Territory Sales Manager Mark Peel’s primary role will focus on working with growers regarding fungicides in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Announces Appointments In Plant Food Division
October 22, 2014
GROWMARK, Inc. has announced the three key staff changes in its Plant Food Division. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Appoints New VP Of Finance And Risk Management
October 22, 2014
Wade Mittelstadt has been named GROWMARK Vice President, Financial and Risk Mangement, effective December 1, 2014. Read More
FungicidesEPA Approves BASF In-Furrow Corn Fungicide
October 22, 2014
Field trials show Xanthion In-furrow fungicide provides more rapid emergence, extended residual control and improved seedling health than untreated crops. Read More
EquipmentAgraScout App Available At No Cost To Universities
October 21, 2014
AgraScout, a fast and easy to use mobile crop scouting app, is now available at no cost to University students, Read More
LegislationNew Farm Bill Program To Provide Relief To Farmers Affe…
October 21, 2014
The USDA has implemented a new Farm Bill initiative that will provide relief to farmers affected by severe weather, including drought. Read More
ManagementGreenfield Scholars Program Aims To Sustain Agronomy Wo…
October 21, 2014
The program encourages talented students to study agronomy, crop and soil sciences while cultivating networks to develop the necessary workforce to sustain the profession. Read More
Paul SchrimpfPrecision Ag: Taking It To The Hill
October 21, 2014
A new coalition took the good news message of precision agriculture to Washington, DC, last month. Read More
ManagementUSDA Awards $18 Million In Small Business Research Gran…
October 21, 2014
The grants will provide high quality, advanced research and development that will lead to technological innovations and solutions for American agriculture. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Terminates Merger Discussions With Yara I…
October 21, 2014
CF Industries Holdings and Yara International have terminated their discussions regarding a potential merger of equals transaction. Read More
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Ranked A Top 10 Biotech Employer For Third tim…
October 20, 2014
Syngenta ranked in the top 10 among the world’s top biotech employers, according to an annual survey conducted by Science magazine. Read More
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Break Ground For New Facility At Kennebec
October 20, 2014
Wheat Growers has broke ground for a state-of-the-art shuttle loader grain handling, fertilizer and agronomy facility in Kennebec, SD. Read More
FertilizerVerdesian Life Sciences Signs Agreement With Los Alamos…
October 20, 2014
Verdesian Life Sciences has signed a licensing agreement with Los Alamos National Laboratory to develop and market LANL’s latest nitrogen enhancement technology for plants. Read More
MicronutrientsStoller Group Announces Groundbreaking At New Office Bu…
October 20, 2014
Jerry Stoller, founder and president of Stoller Group, announced the groundbreaking at the site of the company’s future headquarters in Read More
Crop InputsBioSafe Systems Opens New Production Facility In Nevada
October 20, 2014
BioSafe Systems has completed construction of a state-of-art production facility in Sparks, NV, for its line of activated peroxygen products. Read More