Ag Secretary Vilsack Speaks to Farm Broadcasters

Last week during the National Association of Farm Broadcasters 70th annual convention in Kansas City, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack stopped through to spend time with farm broadcasters from around the country. Vilsack explained he had three announcements:

“The first is the export announcement; the fact that we have reached a record level of agricultural exports and it’s the best five years of ag exports in the history of the country. If you compare it to the previous five years, we have done $230 billion more and our volume is up nearly 4 million tons more.”

The second announcement concerned the long-term drought in parts of the country:
 

“We announced the establishment of the National Drought Resiliency Partnership. Part of that was an opportunity for us to travel around the country and listen to producers to see what we could do better. One thing that came out of those discussions was the need for us to be more proactive in the face of drought. It’s a collaborative effort between the Dept of Commerce and NOA, the Dept of the Interior, the Dept of Energy, the Army Corp of Engineers, EPA, FEMA and the USDA, to try to work together to do a better job of responding. And to be better prepared and to mitigate the consequences of future droughts.”

And the third announcement was regarding EPA’s announcement Friday morning to reduce the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2014:
 

“At USDA what we will focus on are the aspects of this industry that we can control. We established a program that gives an opportunity for people to gain financial assistance to build a larger distribution system within the US so that higher blends of ethanol and bio fuels can be accessed. Our challenge is to work with the industry, particularly the large scale operators, to suggest that they need to work to create a distribution system.”

Taking questions from the audience, Vilsack had these thoughts on a couple of pressing issues, including the farm bill:
 

“There are some key dates. December 15th is the day the budget committee is supposed to report to the Congress their fix for the 2014 fiscal year budget. It seems to me they would like to know where the farm bill discussions are prior to that date. That would encourage the conference committee to get something more concrete around the Thanksgiving holiday. The next big date is Jan 15th, when Congress is supposed to pass whatever the budget committee comes up with.”

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack addressing farm broadcasters in Kansas City.
 


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