USA: Secretary of Agriculture lays out priorities
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that he will extend the comment period for the 2008 Farm Bill Farm Program Payment Limitation and Payment Eligibility rulemaking process. So far, USDA has only received seven comments on the payment limits rule. "In keeping with President Obama's recent pledge to make government more transparent, inclusive, and collaborative, I would like to pursue an extended comment period so that more farmers and other individuals can participate in this rulemaking process," he said. Mr. Vilsack has also announced that the Department does not plan to implement a proposal developed by the previous Administration that would have cut more than $ 3 million from the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, a popular program that promotes the growth of healthy fruits and vegetables.
Priorities Mr. Vilsack has discussed with reporters included combating childhood obesity and enhancing health and nutrition, advancing research and development and pursuing opportunities to support the development of biofuels, wind power, and other renewable energy sources and making progress on major environmental challenges including climate change. Supporting the profitability of farmers and ranchers by providing a safety net that works for all of agriculture, including independent producers and local and organic agriculture, and enforcing the Packers and Stockyards Act were also named as priorities just as quickly implementing the 2008 Farm Bill, modernizing the food safety system and investing in programs that alleviate hunger and suffering overseas and support long-term agriculture development. He also mentioned restoring the mission of the Forest Service as a protector of clean air, clean water, and wildlife habitat.
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