After speaking to 4-H members for breakfast, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined North American Agricultural Journalists for lunch on Monday, covering a variety of important issues, including immigration and getting a new food, farm and jobs bill.
“I believe we will have a bill this year because we have to have a bill this year,” Vilsack said, noting the need to resolve issues such as Brazil’s WTO case against the cotton program. As to when it gets done – “I don’t know when Congress is going to act,” said the secretary. “I know what the ag chairs have said and that is that they’re anxious to get started now.”
Regarding immigration reform challenge as it relates to agriculture, Vilsack said, “It would be whether we’re going to import workers or import food…I think comprehensive immigration reform is as much about food security in the long term as it is about access to workers.”
Vilsack also talked about budget cutting, climate change, sugar for ethanol, and more.
Listen to his remarks and Q&A from reporters here: Secretary Vilsack at NAAJ