As Congress prepares to begin debate on the new farm bill, U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is pushing for its swift passage.
Vilsack says the nation’s ag economy has continued to be strong, especially in the Midwest.
“The reality is, every dollar that we spend in agriculture generates another $2.20 in the economy, there’s a rippling effect,” Vilsack says. “There’s no question when we expand biofuel production, we’re expand job growth. Thirty-six billion gallons of biofuels is the target, and when we reach that target, there’s going to be a million additional people working in that field.”
Vilsack, a former Democratic governor of Iowa, says there is some resistance to the biofuels part of the farm bill.
“There are some who want to eliminate our commitment to renewable energy, which is unfortunate. We have a very great opportunity with the Navy and the Department of Energy to come up with a new drop-in aviation fuel which will be an enormous new industry and a great opportunity for additional rural income,” Vilsack says. “There are some who want to end that because they think the oil industry is more significant. We think it’s a compliment to the oil industry.”
The addition of jobs to the economy is a key issue in this election year. He’s urging House leaders to pass their version of the farm bill by August so it’s ready when the Senate version passes and they can quickly deal with any differences and send the bill on to the White House.