Can the U.S. still be No. 1 ag exporter without a farm bill?

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“We’re in a global marketplace, and whatever advantages we have can disappear pretty quickly because other countries have extraordinary opportunities. If our Congress and House of Representatives can’t pass a farm bill, the message that sends to the rest of the world is we can be caught.”

That’s what Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Wednesday during an interview from Brazil, where Vilsack met with agricultural officials, according to the Des Moines Register.  

Vilsack points that the United States has long had “the upper hand compared with other countries,” and though the country can quickly ship grain and other commodities by rail, road and water, this advantage could erode without “further investments domestically.”

If Congress fails to pass a five-year farm bill soon, Vilsack worries it will force ths UDSA to scale back efforts to promote the country’s agriculture abroad.

“We would be at a disadvantage because we wouldn’t be as aggressive in our promotion,” he warned.

See, “Vilsack says fast action needed on farm bill.”

Vilsack isn’t the only one pushing Congress to pass a farm bill. The Illinois Farm Bureau is pushing its members to tell their congressmen that they want a farm bill, and they want it now. Read more from The News-Gazette.

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Batavia, NY  |  August, 09, 2013 at 10:01 AM

Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack must think that advertising food stamps in foreign countries like Mexico will help our ag exports. I am offended when some government hack like Vilsack says that private business can not thrive without big daddy government handing out money welfare losers, both in the form of food stamps and farm subsidies. End it now. No farm bill!!

Iowa  |  August, 09, 2013 at 01:23 PM

Ken, I would argue that here in the heart of "agriculture country" we need a farm bill so farmers can make risk based decisions based on crop insurance (one of the debated farm bill topics). Most farmers in this area would give up the direct subsidy portion of the they were able to make a decision based in part on what kind of insurance is available to purchase. I would venture that even in Bativa, NY a globally competitive food security policy is more important than you realize. But, without an ag policy we don't have food security for the whole country or production insurance for the only bright spot in our economy...domestic ag. production.

iowa  |  August, 09, 2013 at 01:26 PM

sorry, my emotions got ahead of my fingers on the keyboard. third line should read "of the bill if" they were able....

August, 09, 2013 at 10:11 PM

It is not insurance if it is subsidized. It is a subsidy. Now they want to expand that subsidy to include such commodities as alfalfa and milk. Where does this end? How much money do the taxpayers need to transfer to the insurance companies? Maybe we should have a corn quota like the peanut quota? Yah, that is an idea to make generational wealth for a few at the expense of the many. Risk based decisions based on crop insurance? I see all the new equipment and pick ups bought by crop farmers the last few years. Seems like they can be self insuring themselves. I find it offensive to insinuate that farmers need the government to provide food security for this nation.

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