Farm Bill is One Year Old

Cindy ZimmermanAudio, Conservation, Farm Bill, USDA

farm-bill-knifePresident Obama signed the 2014 Farm Bill into law one year ago this week, calling it a “Swiss Army Knife.”

“Despite its name, the farm bill is not just about helping farmers,” President Obama said at the signing. “Secretary Vilsack calls it a jobs bill, an innovation bill, an infrastructure bill, a research bill, a conservation bill. It’s like a Swiss Army knife.”

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack outlined some of the many ways USDA has implemented that multifaceted tool in the past year during a press conference Thursday. “I think by all measures this has been a successful first year implementation,” said Vilsack. “I think it pushes back on the notion that things are broken in Washington or that government is not working.”

Some of the Farm Bill implementation by the numbers:

4,000 – number of listening sessions and engagement events with stakeholders
226,772 – number of producers who received disaster assistance
23,000 – number of dairies enrolled in the new Margin Protection Program
115 – projects under the Conservation Partnership Program
$200 million – in conservation financial assistance

Joining Secretary Vilsack in the 2014 Farm Bill birthday recognition Wednesday was Ben LaCross, the Michigan fruit farmer who was at the signing of the bill last year; Michael O’Gorman, Executive director of Farmer Veteran Coalition; and Edgar Pruitt, an Alabama farmer who discussed how the Farm Bill is helping producers preserve land and water resources, and support pollinator populations.

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