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Rick Worthington Purdue on Farm Bill
by Rick Worthington, click here for bio

Program: Farm and Ranch Report
Date: February 02, 2018

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Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue during a town hall meeting of farmers in Pennsylvania says that he wants the Agriculture Department to be the "Amazon" of the federal government.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue ran through an outline of "legislative principles" USDA will share with Congress in the writing of the next farm bill.

The meeting was held at Rainford Farms, a 1,300-acre family dairy and anaerobic digester operation that produces all its own electricity.

Perdue reminded the audience of Pennsylvania Farm Bureau members and local FFA students that the USDA doesn't write the farm bill, but advises legislators on it.

"They depend on USDA for consultation and data," Perdue said, noting that the visit to Pennsylvania was part of an effort to "get out on the ground" and "hear what's working and what's not" from farmers and producers.

Topics raised by the audience in a town-hall-style meeting ranged from veterans in agriculture, the immigrant workforce and trade to broadband access and conservation.

The question of potential changes to the crop insurance program was raised both at the beginning and end of the meeting.

In his remarks on USDA's farm bill principles, Perdue acknowledged that the dairy sector "didn't fare as well" in the last bill, and the concerns need to be addressed.

He also said that the purpose of a safety net is to "let them do it again," and that it "can't replace" sound farming practices.

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