Vilsack raps right-wing policy proposals for farm bill

By Marc Heller | 04/16/2024 06:29 AM EDT

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says nearly two dozen House Agriculture Republicans belong to a policy group that’s called for deep cuts in farm programs.

Tom Vilsack.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Alex Wong/Getty Images

An emboldened right wing of the House Republican majority is complicating the prospects for the next five-year farm bill, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Monday.

At a conference of agriculture reporters, Vilsack stepped into the politics of the farm bill, citing the 21 members of the House Agriculture Committee who also belong to the conservative Republican Study Committee — which has called for deep reductions in conservation and other farm programs.

Among other priorities Vilsack deemed radical, the RSC’s budget priorities released in March include shrinking the government’s share of farmers’ crop insurance premiums, ending a conservation technical assistance program and halting new enrollments in two major conservation programs. The budget document is called “Fiscal Sanity to Save America.”


“If you believe in this, how can you possibly vote for a farm bill that goes in the opposite direction?” Vilsack said at the annual meeting of the North American Agricultural Journalists.