Vilsack Says Will Likely Need Congressional Help to Declare Cottonseed an Oilseed for Farm Program Benefit PurposesMon, 11 Jan 2016 05:26:29
US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack answered questions for almost an hour on Sunday afternoon in the Trade Show at the 97th Annual Convention of the American Farm Bureau in Orlando. He replied to questions about everything from how his agency can help young and beginning farmers to whether his department can help cotton farmers by declaring cottonseed an oilseed for the farm program purposes and what his take is on the case of the ranchers in the Pacific Northwest that have been jailed for a second time over performing a controlled burn that got onto federal lands.
Click here to watch the video of the USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack Town Hall at the 2016 AFBF Convention.
After the Town Hall, the Secretary talked to reporters about some of the same issues- and others, as well. Vilsack reiterated to the media that it may take congressional action to provide cotton growers the new subsidies they are seeking. Cotton producers and their supporters in Congress have been calling on Vilsack to allow cottonseed to be considered an oilseed for purposes of the Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs. Vilsack said people at USDA “want to help” cotton producers in the midst of a struggling downturn in their industry, but added that there are some “serious legal issues” that might stand in the way.
Also in the News Conference- the Secretary discussed:
Vilsack will communicate with leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture committees about the “context and tenor” of a meeting he organized for this coming week to try to resolve the dispute over biotech labeling. Industry representatives are expected to attend the meeting along with some proponents of labeling.
Vilsack expressed interest in opening a USDA office in Cuba, but said that was dependent on two things: a congressional lift of the trade embargo (which he said was unlikely in the current Congress) and sufficient office space in the communist country. He said USDA would have to work with the State Department on the issue.
You can hear the Secretary's complete news conferece from Sunday afternoon by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
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