Thu July 18, 2013

At Greeley Stop, Vilsack Urges Farm Bill Action From Congress

Speaking at Leprino Foods in Greeley, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says lawmakers must act soon to pass a comprehensive five year farm bill.

The two year old Leprino facility makes cheese products for restaurants, and frozen food manufacturers. Tying the local business to the Farm Bill, Vilsack said as Leprino increases its demand for milk, Colorado farmers need to have assurances federal farm assistance programs will be in place next year.

“How is credit going to be available?” the Secretary said.  “What type of risk-management tools will they be able to operate on? Will dairy have a different support system when prices are low to keep folks in business when times are tough? They don’t have that today because of a lack of action by congress.”

The House of Representatives passed a pared down version of the Farm Bill, separating ag assistance from food aid. The Senate Farm Bill was passed in June. The two bills now need to be reconciled. If that fails to happen by Sept. 30, vital farm subsidies are set to expire.

Agweb.com reports Secretary Vilsack says his agency is able to handle the uncertainty as a joint committee reviews the two bills.  He added the House version of the Farm bill disregarded the voice of rural America.