Sec. Vilsack Adresses AFBF Members

In a surprise visit to the AFBF Annual Meeting, Ag Secretary Vilsack drew applause from the nation’s farmers and ranchers when he commented on his departments goals for the deregulation of Roundup Ready Alfalfa.

He said, “We’re trying to figure out, as difficult as it might be, is there a way in which we can assure that we have less interference with the capacity for folks to do what they want to do on their land? If you want to grow GMO crops you ought to be able to do that. If you want to grow identity preserved conventional you ought to be able to do that. If you want to be an organic farmer you ought to be able to do that.”

Vilsack also commented on the importance of estate tax reform in the recently passed tax extenders legislation.

“That’s why it was important to have estate tax relief in this bill that assured all the members of this audience and your family members that you’re not going to have to worry about whether or not the farm is going to have to be sold or split up.”

Vilsack praised American agriculturists for their productive capacity and expressed optimism about the challenges we face in the future.

“We need an economy that creates and innovates,” Vilsack said. “We know it can work because it’s worked in agriculture.”

Last year’s potential record farm income is primarily due to farmers’ productivity and heart, according to Vilsack, but the trade surplus agriculture posted—the only trade surplus among the many sectors of the U.S. economy—helped too.

Vilsack said administration officials are working to ensure more trade opportunities by resolving ongoing trade disputes, tapping into emerging markets and building relationships in fragile, fledgling markets, like Afghanistan.

Much to the dismay of the assembled ag media, the Secretary left the meeting without answering questions.

You can listen to the address here.

(Image: AgWired)

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