Rep. Kagen Participates in First Farm Bill Hearing for 2012
Wisconsin Ag Connection – 04/22/2010
Wisconsin’s only member of the House Agriculture Committee was part of the first formal discussions held on the 2012 Farm Bill. On Wednesday, Congressman Steve Kagen was among the panel members that heard from U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, who presented a national perspective on the challenges facing rural America based on his travels to rural communities throughout the country. He also discussed the state of agriculture today, the need for a strong farm safety net, and new approaches to create income opportunities and generate wealth for rural American.
"The hearing was a critical first step for the next Farm Bill," Dr. Kagen noted. "Involving Secretary Vilsack from the beginning ensures that the Administration is clear on our priorities as we work to send a bill to the President for signature."
The Farm Bill is major legislation that authorizes many government farm support, conservation, energy, trade, marketing, food assistance, and rural development programs over several years. The current bill was signed into law in 2008, and many of its provisions will expire in September 2012.
And even though the talks are being held early, Wednesday’s hearing wasn’t without disagreement. Rep. Frank Lucas, the top Republican on the committee, derided USDA for proposing cuts in key farm programs, while stressing broadband, biofuels, regional food system supply chains, forest restoration and ecosystem market incentives.
Kagen also issued a statement promising he will ensure that the voice of Wisconsin is heard during the process of putting together the next federal farm policy.