Tough times for agriculture – AG NEWS NETWORK OF THE WEST

Difficult times for agriculture

I am Bob Larson. General Secretary Tom Vilsack said tens of thousands of farmers have fallen on hard times and need help now.

It was an unusually emotional moment for Secretary Vilsack, as he broke from the script before the Senate farm appropriations panel…

VILSACK … “There are 61,670 farm families in America today who are on the brink. 61,670 farm families who are either behind on their USDA loans, bankrupt or awaiting foreclosure.

For Vilsack, it’s personal…

VILSACK… “I represented farmers in the 1980s, as a small town attorney, I can tell you the pain, I can tell you the stress, I can tell you the decisions people make in these circumstances, I can tell you some very tragic decisions that they fabricate.”

His voice nearly cracking, Vilsack urged Ag to help find ways to save these producers…

VILSACK … “And I sincerely hope that we can work together in a bipartisan way, to make sure that they have a hopeful future, as opposed to the one that is currently filled with stress today.

Compounded by today’s record gasoline, diesel and fertilizer prices, as the USDA reviews fertilizer costs…

VISACK… “To see what we could do here in the United States to produce more fertilizer. We also work with growers on crop choice and conservation practices that could potentially reduce fertilizer use. We are also focusing on a split nitrogen policy for crop insurance, which will essentially cover crop loss if you decide to cut your nitrogen application in half.

And Vilsack says the USDA is working with state attorneys general to make sure fertilizer prices are legitimate, pointing to research that shows these prices rise with crop prices, which he says shouldn’t. not happen.