Vilsack: “The sky is not falling”

Tom Vilsack 2016 Commodity Classic in New OrleansTom Vilsack attended his last Commodity Classic in New Orleans as U.S. Ag Secretary and said he is optimistic about the ag economy. While crop prices ARE down he says debt-to-asset ratios at 13% are not what they were in the farm crisis of the 1980s. Vilsack says cash rents are still an issue and he recently talked to his farm manager about theirs, “We really probably should adjust those rents down a bit. So, I expect my rents to be less than they were next year. And that’s okay. That’s okay because it’s a partnership and that’s the way it ought to be.”

Vilsack says farmers shouldn’t lose heart, “All of this can change in a heartbeat, you know. If some part of the country – some part of the world has a drought or a flood – it’s, it’s not an easy – I think you’ve just have to be steady. Not too high, not too low. Gotta be steady.”

The Secretary says continuing to grow markets is extremely important, “I think I buy into the fact that we have to do more to expand opportunity. We have to continue to open up markets. We have to figure out creative ways to use products here in the United States. But, I’m not willing to suggest, you know, the sky’s falling because I don’t think it is.”

Vilsack says the Trans Pacific Partnership and expansion into Cuba are essential to U.S. agriculture moving forward.

AUDIO: Tom Vilsack at #classic16 News Conference



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