Vilsack pushes for bill's passage with safety net

Published online: Nov 25, 2013
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U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack continues to push for completion of the 2013 Farm Bill including an adequate farm safety net, which he says benefits all Americans.

Speaking to farm broadcasters Friday in Kansas City, Vilsack said that without a safety net, unavoidable crop failures could push producers out of business.

"What that will mean is that the nation, which is currently a food-secure nation, a nation that's capable of producing and in fact does produce virtually all that we need to feed ourselves, is no longer a food-secure nation," said Vilsack, during an hour-long news conference. "We're no longer as strong or as safe when we are no longer a food-secure nation."

At the same time, Vilsack says it will be necessary to cut programs, each of which have a constituency that wants them saved.

Regarding Friday's EPA announcement that it is rolling back proposed renewable fuel volumes for 2014, Vilsack says he'll do whatever he can to support renewable fuels.

"We've got to maintain that RFS," said Vilsack. "We have to mute and mitigate the push-back by the petroleum industry, and we've got to accelerate this advanced biofuel production, and we've got to figure out how to get this distribution wider than just the states of Iowa, and Wisconsin and Minnesota."