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Ag Secretary, Senate Ag Chair Respond to Farm Billís Expiration

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack noted Monday that many USDA programs and policies were authorized under the 2008 Farm Bill through September 30th. He says these include a number of critical programs that impact millions of Americans - including programs for farm commodity and price support, conservation, research, nutrition, food safety and agricultural trade. Because the authority or funding to deliver many of these programs has expired - Vilsack says USDA now has far fewer tools to help strengthen American agriculture and grow a rural economy that supports one in 12 American jobs. Without action - authority and funding for additional programs will expire in the coming months. Vilsack says the department will work hard to keep producers and farm families informed regarding the programs no longer available to them.

Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow says it is unbelievable that we are in this position - creating so much uncertainty for farmers, ranchers and small businesses. She notes the Senate came together in a bipartisan way to pass a farm bill and the House Agriculture Committee did the same. She calls it absolutely unacceptable that the House Republican leadership couldn't devote just one day to rural America and the 16-million jobs across the country that rely on agriculture. In the next few months - Stabenow says we will transition to a collection of policies that are ill-suited to the way farmers work today. When those policies kick in - she says farmers and families will pay the price for inaction in the House. Stabenow says the farm bill needs to be a top priority for the House as soon as Congress returns to Washington. She's hopeful they will devote the first day back to creating jobs in rural America and cities across the country.

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