Vilsack to Testify on 2012 Farm Bill on Wednesday


Formal debate on the 2012 farm bill begins Wednesday when Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack appears before the House Agriculture Committee. Momentum will continue to build from there with academics and economists set to testify next week.

In May, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) takes the show on the road, with hearings planned for Des Moines, Iowa; Boise, Idaho; Fresno, Calif.; and Cheyenne, Wyo. Farm Bureau and other farm groups are expected to testify before the ag panel in June or July.

Peterson has made it clear that he expects finding financial resources for farm programs will be tougher for the 2012 farm bill as Congress wrestles with ways to cut a ballooning federal deficit.

On Friday, Peterson said he is starting the process early “to get people thinking ahead of time on where we should be going in the future.”

Peterson said he wants the next farm bill to continue to offer a safety net for commercial farmers who produce most of the nation’s food. He is asking farm groups if there is a more productive way of providing a safety net.

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