Vilsack says he’s still hopeful for ’12 Farm Bill

US Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, who met recently with leaders of the House and Senate Ag Committees says they are on board to get a five-year farm bill through Congress.

Vilsack tells Brownfield Ag News he’s still hopeful it can get done in 2012, “I realize the fiscal cliff discussions are tough but I wanted to ensure that the leaders of the House and Senate ag committees were in a position that when and if an agreement was reached on the fiscal cliff that a Farm Bill could be easily attached to that agreement and passed before the end of the year.”

Vilsack says they don’t support a short term extension of the current farm bill because it’s too risky – adding there’s no certainty where the money will come from and new members of Congress unfamiliar with farm legislation are coming on board next year.

If ag leadership fails to get a full farm bill through, Vilsack warns, “It may be sort of forced on us with others coming up with a number, others coming up with a policy and I don’t think that would be in the best interests of folks in rural America and, as a result, I don’t think it’s in the best interests of the country as a whole.”

In his meeting with Ag Committee leaders Stabenow, Lucas, Peterson and Roberts – Vilsack says Senator Roberts showed willingness to be flexible on the commodity title and the ag secretary says he believes the other differences in the Senate and House farm bills CAN be worked out and they’re going to be ready.

AUDIO: Tom Vilsack (9:00 mp3)

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