The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture is touring several Ag heavy states to focus on rural prosperity and prepare for the 2018 Farm Bill.
The “Back to Our Roots” listening tour will allow Secretary Sonny Perdue to hear directly from people in Agriculture as the USDA will be directly involved as Congress deliberates the 2018 Farm Bill. Livestock producers, consumers, ranchers and farmers all expressed their concern for what they would like represented in the bill.
“We don’t even have enough vaccine on hand to handle a small outbreak, much less a major one. We had a major outbreak with pork, livestock, soybeans, corn, it’ll amount to 200 billion in negative impact for a continued period according to the Iowa economists so when we ask for a $150 million dollars over five years, you know $750 million dollars, that’s a drop in the bucket. That’s enormous risk and hopefully we can get it done.”
“The number one goal of USDA is food safety, we’ve got to communicate that far and wide, how do we do that. We know the vaccinations is the best way because we learned here in 2014-2015 how pathogenic aviation influenza can be and you get behind the curve you saw what happened. The good news is we learned from that,” Sec. Perdue said.
Trade was also a much discussed topic.
“Finding those new markets are really important to our ag economy and in particular taking a look at the market access program and ensuring that we have the ability to work on promotion in other markets is going to be absolutely critical.”
“It’s very critical to work with our industry groups, it’s not a grant but a partnership, dollar to dollar, one to one sometimes, sometimes more than that industry groups are putting that in but we’ve got competitors all over the world so we’ve got to go out and drive those markets,” Sec. Perdue responded.
Member of the dairy industry also talked about protecting small farms and possibly making dairy its own commodity. Secretary Perdue believes the last Farm Bill is a good place to start.
“I think the ’14 Farm Bill was a great platform to build on, we’re going to tweak dairy and cotton in those areas. Looking at some other things maybe like the organic program and work on some other ideas we may have and things change, technology is rapidly evolving even within a four to five year period and we have to change with it.”
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