(NAFB)-With the farm bill still in limbo - U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says farmers and ranchers need to work to increase the understanding of agriculture. Vilsack says passage of a farm bill is long overdue and characterizes it as the number one issue affecting American agriculture today. He says the lack of congressional action on the farm bill should concern every American. He says we need a farm bill - and need it now. Vilsack says several provisions of the farm bill will benefit farmers and rural America - including programs for disaster assistance, trade promotion, conservation and crop insurance. He says new initiatives - such as assistance for beginning farmers and military veterans interested in reconnecting with the land also hold great promise once the bill becomes law.
Vilsack made his comments at the general session of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 95th Annual Convention. He encouraged Farm Bureau members to contact their members of Congress to let them know how important the farm bill’s passage is. He also highlighted the importance of educating friends about what farming is and why it’s important. Vilsack said many people may not realize that agriculture is a major driving force of the overall economy - accounting for five-percent of the U.S. gross domestic product and employing 16-million Americans.