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SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 13 -- The American Farm Bureau Federation issued the following news release:
With a new farm bill still in limbo, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urged farmers and ranchers to work to increase the understanding of agriculture, during his remarks at the general session at the American Farm Bureau Federation's 95th Annual Convention.
"Passage of a farm bill is long overdue," Vilsack said, adding, "producers understand this." He characterized passage of a new farm bill as the number one issue affecting American agriculture today.
"Every American should be concerned" with the lack of congressional action on the farm bill, Vilsack said. "We need this farm bill and we need it now," he added, encouraging Farm Bureau members to contact their members of Congress and let them know passage of the bill is important.
Further, with most Americans far removed from where their food comes from, "Educating friends about what farming is and what it does is important," Vilsack said. The fact that agriculture is a major driving force of the overall economy, accounting for 5 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product and employing 16 million Americans, is something many people may not realize, he explained.
Vilsack highlighted several provisions of the farm bill that benefit farmers and rural America that will be restored when the legislation is approved, including programs for disaster assistance, trade promotion, conservation and crop insurance. He noted that new initiatives, such as assistance for beginning farmers and military veterans interested in reconnecting with the land, also hold great promise, once the bill becomes law.
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