House panel questions ag chief on farm bill implementation

Farm Forum

WASHINGTON – Rep. Frank Lucas, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, held a hearing with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack on April 3 to review the state of the rural economy. With the recent enactment of the Agricultural Act of 2014, progress on implementing the law was the primary topic of discussion with members asking Secretary Vilsack for an update on his team’s efforts.

“I appreciate the Secretary’s time today to discuss issues that are important for the future health and vitality of production agriculture and rural America. This committee’s priorities center on properly implementing the Agricultural Act of 2014 and providing regulatory relief to our producers. I am concerned about the administration’s regulatory initiatives that are often created by people who have no frame of reference for how farmers produce our nation’s food supply. We will continue to monitor progress on implementing the farm bill, as well as provide oversight of any initiatives that could jeopardize the livelihoods of our farmers and ranchers,” said Chairman Frank Lucas.

“Passing the farm bill was almost a miracle. Hopefully implementation will be a lot easier. There are several complicated programs but I have confidence that USDA and Secretary Vilsack are up to the task. The rural economic outlook remains positive in many parts of the country, even as commodity markets are starting to decline and weather challenges persist. Of course now, we need to make sure we don’t do anything to screw this up. People who don’t understand agriculture and are driven more by political ideology are the biggest threats to the rural economy,” said Ranking Member Collin Peterson.