Last year was a tough one for farmers and ranchers, and while many are anxious to put it behind them, a number of 2012’s key events will be driving the Agriculture Department’s efforts in 2013, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told attendees at the AFBF’s 94th Annual Meeting.
Chief among those events was the drought and its continuing ramifications, like the significantly low Mississippi River levels. Key lessons Vilsack said he learned from the drought are “the extraordinary resilience of our producers” and the importance of a safety net for agriculture.
In that vein, Vilsack said he and the department will continue to push for passage of a five-year farm bill. Along with a strong and viable safety net, key components of the legislation are provisions related to reforming credit and conservation programs and continuing the country’s commitment to enhancing trade. Research and biofuels will be important elements, too.