Wednesday, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack addressed the current and next farm bills before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture chaired by Collin Peterson, D-Minn. Vilsack presented a national perspective on the challenges facing rural America based on his travels to rural communities throughout the country. He also discussed the state of agriculture today, the need for a strong farm safety net, and new approaches to create income opportunities and generate wealth in a stronger, more prosperous rural America for generations to come.
Concerning the implementation of the 2008 Farm bill, the Secretary said USDA is working to ensure that America's farmers and ranchers have the tools they need to remain viable and on the farm. It is also with these authorities that USDA works to fund rural hospitals, schools and fire stations, maintain a safe food supply, and sustain export markets for the commodities produced by our nation's farmers and ranchers.
"It is important that we approach this new legislation with an eye toward truly making a difference in the future of the lives of millions of rural Americans," Vilsack said. "If we set our goals appropriately, we can properly assist and strengthen production agriculture, while also building and reinforcing the future of rural communities."