• Vermont needs a farm bill
    November 16,2013
     

    Vermont needs a farm bill

    Congress has an important opportunity to create jobs and grow the economy by passing a long-term, comprehensive food, farm and jobs bill. The Vermont congressional delegation members — Sen. Leahy, as the senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Sen. Sanders and Rep. Welch — are working hard to pass the farm bill because they know it affects every American and would strengthen our nation.

    The farm bill is crucial to a strong agricultural sector and abundant food supply. In recent years, producers have faced many disasters, which is why USDA disaster programs are so important. Under the 2008 farm bill, the Farm Service Agency provided more than $12 million in disaster assistance to Vermont farmers.

    The farm bill provides a dairy program supported by Vermont farmers and crop insurance and reauthorizes expired disaster assistance. By eliminating the direct payment program, the farm bill saves billions of dollars. It also allows USDA to continue export promotion and enables the Farm Service Agency to extend additional farm credit.

    The farm bill helps rural businesses grow and hire more, strengthen small town infrastructure and provide new opportunities in renewable energy. In Vermont, USDA has invested more than $10.2 million since 2009 to help farmers and rural businesses save energy.

    The new farm bill invests in nutrition programs that provide critical assistance to children, seniors, people with disabilities and veterans. It enables USDA to continue working with over 500,000 landowners to conserve soil and water, improves agricultural research and ensures a safe food supply.

    President Obama has identified passage of a new farm bill as one of his top three legislative priorities. The farm bill has stood as a model of bipartisan consensus for decades, and we look forward to the Senate and House reaching agreement to move it forward soon.

    Ted Brady

    USDA Rural Development state director

    Bob Paquin

    USDA Farm Service Agency state executive director

    Burlington

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