Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is not too sympathetic to the recently announced 50% drop in net farm income.
When asked about that at an informal news conference, he said, “Let’s put this in proper perspective. It is like asking me if a guy hits 50 home runs one year and the next year he hits 30, if he has had a bad year.”
“In reality, if he has hit 30 home runs he has had a pretty good year, even though it is a significant drop from what he had the year before. You have to put this in the context of record profits for farmers in the past 6-7 years, record exports.”
“I don’t see this as dire as your question has suggested. That is why we have the ARC and PLC programs; it is why we have the disaster programs. We set up an ad hoc disaster effort in relation to the poultry industry.”
“We are going to keep people in business and that is the purpose of these programs. The market will adjust and prices will come up. That is the reason we are (funding installation of 4,800 ethanol blender pumps) is that we have a strong commitment to ethanol, why we will continue to do promotion of exports, and why we want the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement) to be enacted because it will expand market opportunities, because it will strengthen prices.”
“I realize prices have come down a bit, but let’s put it in the context of the last 6-7 years, which have been the best 6-7 years that we have seen collectively and cumulatively in agriculture.”
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