On Thursday, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack testified before a House Ag Committee panel on the state of the rural economy, and implementation of the farm bill.
House Ag Committee chair Frank Lucas explained part of the reason for convening the panel was a concern that regulatory initiatives are often created by people without a frame of reference on how farmers produce food.
Vilsack said USDA is making strides in implementing the new farm bill's 12 titles and roughly 450 provisions. Thus far he cites 12 outreach sessions, updates to various risk management tools, increased research funding and modifications to farm loan programs as major stepping stones.
He was also careful to point out livestock disaster assistance is a top priority, with enrollment in the Livestock Indemnity Program and Livestock Forage Disaster Program opening April 15th.