Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says maximum disaster help for farmers and ranchers lies a new farm bill. Vilsack tells Brownfield a drought disaster bill instead of and apart from a new Farm Bill doesn’t make sense for farmers and the House needs to get to work on the Farm Bill itself.
On Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner indicated there may be a separate piece of legislation to restore disaster programs that have expired.
Vilsack asks how do you pay for a separate package and what happens to the rest of the important decisions that need to be made about the Food, Farm and Jobs bill.
“Are you going to delay those?,” he asks, “Are you going to get yourself into a situation where all of that’s going to be part of a discussion about sequester, part of the discussion about deficit reduction, part of the discussion about tax policy? And what risks do you run that you’re going to get hit with much deeper and more severe cuts than are proposed now.”
Vilsack says even House Ag Chair Frank Lucas who worked hard with ranking member Collin Peterson to pass a farm bill proposal was uncertain about Boehner’s suggestion.
“He (Lucas) certainly gave indications yesterday that he was a little uncertain about all of that. I would think that if the Chairman doesn’t know about it, I’m not sure where we are on this.”
Vilsack says the U.S. House needs to get its work done on the Farm Bill before it rewards itself with a five-week recess. So far, the House Ag farm bill proposal has not been scheduled for debate.
Vilsack adds the USDA is doing everything it can to help but expired disaster programs, especially for livestock producers, need to be restored in a new Farm Bill.