U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said Friday that protecting the defense budget from cuts would further endanger agricultural programs.
“Isn’t there a single cut, a single efficiency, that can be had in the defense budget?” Vilsack said before a group of state agricultural commissioners and secretaries Friday in Des Moines.
He warned that if the Defense Department budget is taken off the table for cuts, agriculture would be more vulnerable if Congress doesn’t pass a new farm bill by the expiration of the current bill on Sept. 30.
“The bill passed by the U.S. Senate in July has $23 billion in cuts, but some proposals would cut as much as $50 billion from agricultural programs and another $139 billion from nutrition programs,” Vilsack said. “That would be a major blow to the rural economy.”
Vilsack, who was a two-term governor of Iowa before he became the first Iowan in 70 years to lead the USDA in 2009, criticized the U.S. House of Representatives for failing to take up the farm bill.
“People say there’s little time left,” Vilsack said. “You always make time for your priorities.”
Vilsack noted that while corn and soybean farmers can cover most of their drought-related losses this year through insurance, their livestock and dairy brethren don’t have similar protection and may struggle to feed animals...
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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