Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman focused on farm policy and USDA’s priorities during a town hall-style conversation at the 97th AFBF Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show.
“It’s very important for AFBF and USDA to have a good working relationship, and we do.” Stallman said. “We’ve worked together on a lot of issues facing farmers and ranchers, to the benefit of American agriculture and consumers alike.”
In his opening remarks Vilsack thanked Farm Bureau members for their help in securing the 2014 farm bill and passing trade promotion authority. He also thanked Stallman for his friendship and leadership over the years.
“The close working relationship between USDA and Farm Bureau is critical to addressing the issues facing U.S. agriculture,” said Vilsack. “Without Farm Bureau’s grassroots advocacy we would not have had the 2014 farm bill and we certainly wouldn’t be as far along in the trade discussion as we are now.”
Vilsack discussed the challenges and benefits of the farm bill and the importance of opening up new markets through agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“The Asian market is the fastest-growing market in the world,” Vilsack said. “And consumers there will be looking for the high-class products that American farmers and ranchers can provide.”
Vilsack took a variety of questions from a standing-room-only crowd of farmers and ranchers on the IDEAg Trade Show floor.
“This country is great because we have great farmers,” Vilsack emphasized. “The average American doesn’t worry about where their food will come from because of the hard work farmers and ranchers do every day.”