USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack delivered the keynote address at last week’s Commodity Classic, where he focused on the need for Congress to pass a farm bill this year.

“We need the certainty of a farm bill. We need to be able to understand what the rules will be, and we want to make sure that it’s something that allows us to build on the progress that we’ve recently seen in agriculture as we experienced a record farm income year last year. It’s important for all of you to get engaged in this opportunity to support the leaders of the commodity groups as they express on your behalf the need for a farm bill now. And not to accept from members of Congress or the Senate how hard this going to be and how difficult it is to get consensus in Washington,” says Vilsack.

Passing a bill won’t be an easy task, but Vilsack says it only gets harder if it doesn’t happen this year.

As for priorities in the bill, Vilsack says the first principle is the safety net.
“It’s important and necessary that we start with the flagship of the safety net which is a solid, stable, secure crop insurance program,” he adds.

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