Last week, the Senate Agriculture Committee took a first look at a proposed version of the Farm Bill – or, as I call it – the farm, food and jobs bill. This is an important first step in the process to write the legislation and get it passed into law.
Farmers, ranchers, and the men and women who live in rural communities deserve to know what the rules will be moving forward.
With the current law expiring, we cannot wait any longer to reauthorize this essential law for rural America. It needs to happen this year.
That is why I am pleased that Senators Stabenow and Roberts have stepped up and are working together on a bipartisan basis to get the ball rolling.
As they go through the process, I’m optimistic that members of Congress will make sure this bill will support farmers… guarantee a safe, affordable, and nutritious food supply…. promote trade and agricultural research… fund nutrition programs that help millions of families put food on the table… and help create jobs for the American people, especially in rural America.
Last fall I laid out my priorities for this farm, food and jobs bill – and they remain the same today.
For producers, Congress must focus on three core principles that have shaped the success of the American producer over generations: maintaining a strong safety net, supporting sustainable productivity and promoting vibrant markets.
They should remember that this bill is about the future, so it must support and grow the next generation of farmers.
By focusing on these priorities as they work to pass a bill this year, Congress will help move our nation and our economy forward.
They’ll create jobs, support working families, strengthen rural communities and build on the incredible success and productivity of American agriculture.
For an audio version of the Secretary's Column, please click here.