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Kind Meets With Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Pushes for End to Wasteful Spending

March 25, 2009
Press Release

Washington, DC – U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) yesterday met with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to discuss how to reform agriculture policies to save taxpayer money, promote energy development from biomass and wind, and make food programs—such as food stamps and school lunches—more nutritious.

Their meeting, which also included Reps. Jim Cooper (D-TN) and Mark Schauer (D-MI), came the day before the House Budget Committee will decide whether to include the agricultural reforms proposed by the Obama Administration into Congress’s budget blueprint for the upcoming fiscal year. 

Rep. Kind also yesterday also sent a letter to House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt (D-SC) and Ranking Member Paul Ryan (R-WI), calling on them to limit subsidy payments to farmers and landowners with an adjusted gross income of less than $250,000 and capping the commodity payment limit at $250,000.  It was expected that Rep. Ryan would offer such an amendment during the committee’s consideration today.

“President Obama and Secretary Vilsack have recognized the need to reform our agriculture policies.  Now it is time for Congress to do the same,” said Rep. Kind, who has spent years fighting to end handouts to wealthy farmers and corporations.  “If we’re truly concerned about eliminating wasteful spending at a time of spiraling budget deficits, we clearly need to look at agriculture subsidies.  We could be using that money to feed low-income families and fund programs that create jobs in rural America.”

The meeting with Secretary Vilsack also comes nearly a week after the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it would work with the Internal Revenue Service to enforce the agriculture subsidy limits written into law in the last farm bill. On Friday March, 20, 2009, Rep. Kind introduced legislation requiring such an enforcement process.