Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman at the 97th AFBF Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show Sunday for their second town hall style meeting, taking questions from members on a variety of topics.
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 also talked about the importance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership for agriculture. “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.”
Questions directed toward Vilsack hit on an array of topics from the Dairy Margin Protection Program, to the request for cottonseed to be designated as an oilseed, to the Hammond rancher controversy in Oregon. After the meeting, Vilsack met with reporters and took more questions on policy related issues.
Listen to the AFBF town hall meeting here: AFBF Town Hall with Secretary Vilsack
Listen to Vilsack’s press conference here: Vilsack AFBF press conference