U-S Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack met with Senators from agricultural states privately this week. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley was one and says the meeting was off the record so he would only speak about his own priorities, a major one of which is his feeling that the USDA should be protecting farmers from corporations.
“That’s not an accusation, I just want them to do more. And I want them to do more because what Congress did on the Packers and Stockyards Act in the 2008 and 2014 farm bill,” Grassley said, “Unfortunately, the department, even in the previous administration, failed to give farmers certainty.”
Another priority, according to Grassley, was talking about the Conservation Reserve Program. It is something the U-S-D-A says it plans to expand – both in size and the amount of payment it offers. Grassley urges the Biden Administration to only put in fragile land into the program so it’s not an unfair competitor. “I hope this administration will learn lessons from mistakes that were made in the 2008 farm bill, where we had the government competing against the cash renter, so that whole farms were put into CRP,” says Grassley.