Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack made a statement expressing encouragement at the progress of a five-year Food, Farm and Jobs Bill through Congress. House and Senate Agriculture Committees each moved versions of a bill to the full body’s legislative queue last week, although the drafts varied in some important aspects.
Vilsack expressed unqualified support for the Senate’s version, which he says would strengthen rural economies and local food systems while encouraging renewable energy and biobased manufacturing. Vilsack also says the Senate version would also link crop insurance payments to national soil protection and wetland conservation goals. However, the Secretary’s statement also expressed concern over cuts to the SNAP food assistance program.