On Wednesday, the full House Agriculture Committee held its first hearing on the reauthorization of the 2012 Farm Bill. The current Farm Bill, the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 was signed into law in 2008, and many of the provisions in that bill will expire in September 2012.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was the lone witness and testified for more than two-and-a-half hours on various issues involved in the reauthorization process, including cap and trade, biofuel and programs to support farmers and ranchers.
The secretary's written statement for the hearing mentioned that the Agricultural Marketing Service continues to work with other U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies to re-establish the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center as provided for in the 2008 Farm Bill.
"This hearing is the first step in the process of writing the next Farm Bill. A bill this large and that covers so many important issues takes a lot of time and effort to get it right, and I am committed to a process that is open, transparent and bipartisan," said committee Chairman Collin Peterson. "I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and from all regions of the country to be sure that we put together a bill that supports the food, fiber, conservation, energy and rural development needs of this country."