U.S. Agriculture Secretary talks farm bill in Jackson - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

U.S. Agriculture Secretary talks farm bill in Jackson

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The price you pay for groceries could go up if Congress fails to pass a farm bill by the end of the month.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was in Jackson Thursday to discuss the reasons for passing the farm bill.

"[Not passing the farm bill] will create chaos in the marketplace and in grocery stores across the United States over the course of months. We need Congress to get its job done," Vilsack said.

A crowd of farmers wondered what Secretary Vilsack had to say on the matter.

"It's the single most important piece of legislation for rural America, for farmers, for anybody that's interested in jobs, energy, food," Vilsack told the crowd.

Many say it impacts their livelihood.

"Small limited resource farmers need assistance badly. In the Mississippi Delta we left the farm and now we're looking at coming back," said farmer Charles Houston.

Congress recently separated the farm bill into two parts -- farm subsidies and nutrition programs, including food stamps. Vilsack says that won't work.

"Because farmers represent such a small percentage of our population. The other 99 percent of America that doesn't farm needs to understand what's in it for them. Food nutrition and nutrition programs are what's in it for them," Vilsack said.

The farm bill gives farmers a safety net with crop insurance and equipment loans. Bottom line, it helps farmers like Daniel Teague operate.

"Keep the family in the farming and we ensure success as far as America goes," Teague said.

"Farmers have to have a certainty of what the program's going to be in order for them to be able to make plans for the future," Secretary Vilsack said.

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