U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan on Sunday delivered a speech at the National Farmers Union Convention in Springfield, Mass., focusing on the lack of a new farm bill.
"By failing to pass a five-year farm bill, Congress is tapping the breaks on the momentum that has been building in rural America," said Merrigan. "We need a farm bill, and we need it now."
Merrigan also noted in her address that as U.S. farmers and ranchers become more active with consumers, they will "gain more appreciation for the hard work and sacrifice that goes into producing our food."
"It was encouraging to hear from the Deputy Secretary that the USDA continues to promote the importance of Congress passing a five-year farm bill as soon as possible," said Johnson. "Today we gained perspective from leaders in the industry and our own future leaders."
Rural infrastructure, youth a focus of NFU convention
Convention attendees also heard about the future of rural broadband and other initiatives from Ramona Carlow, AT&T vice president of public policy. Young leaders of the NFU National Youth Advisory Committee also addressed the crowd about their endeavors in Farmers Union and agriculture.
Later in the day, educational breakout sessions were held on the changing marketplace, conservation compliance and Farmers Union's involvement in international agriculture.
"The educational sessions are an opportunity for our members to gain insight from an array of experts and industry leaders," said Johnson.