The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


Ag committee leaders to lunch with Vilsack Thursday

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will have lunch with the leaders and ranking members of the House and Senate Agriculture committees on Thursday, a spokesman for Vilsack confirmed late today.

The luncheon will be an opportunity for Vilsack to discuss the prospects for the farm bill, the impact of the expiration of the 2008 farm bill, and the question of an extension of parts of the 2008 bill, but a spokeswoman for House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., downplayed the significance of the meeting.

“This is lunch with the secretary that’s been scheduled for weeks. This is not a new development,” the spokeswoman said.

Representatives of Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Senate Agriculture ranking member Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and House Agriculture ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., did not return email requests for comment.

The luncheon will take place while President Barack Obama is hosting Mitt Romney, his opponent in the 2012 presidential race, for lunch at the White House.

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney noted to reporters that Obama has been clear that Congress must pass a comprehensive multiyear farm bill “... that not only provides much-needed disaster assistance but gets farmers and ranchers the certainty they deserve while enacting critical reforms.”

The lunch was first reported in Politico.

Gene Schmidt

Gene Schmidt
The National Association of Conservation Districts today urged the House and Senate leadership to include the 2012 farm bill within a “fiscal cliff” deal.

“The farm bill cuts costs while increasing efficiencies and best management tools to care for our natural resources,” NACD President Gene Schmidt said in a news release. “Any deficit reduction deal should take a clear look at the 2012 farm bill as a responsible approach to managing our budget while also managing our most precious asset — our natural resources.”