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Perdue Briefs Lawmakers on State of Rural Economy
USAgNet - 02/07/2018

Members of the House Agriculture Committee hosted U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on Tuesday as he briefed the panel on the current state of the rural economy and the agency's recently released farm bill priorities.

The committee was briefed by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue who acknowledged commodity prices are in a much different place than the last time a farm bill was being constructed.

"I wish there were better news but there is a lot of stress and a lot of duress on the farms today," Perdue said. "The only saving grace for that is we're talking about a constituency thatís probably the most resilient among Americans and the most optimistic or they wouldn't continue to do what they do year in and year out in putting a lot of the risk of their equity in the ground hoping for that next good crop. So, the state of the rural economy is fragile."

He added the ag committee will have quite a struggle ahead to create a farm bill with an improved safety net considering the current financial situation in Washington.

"By and large a safety net is really the goal of the farm bill, as well as providing for those who donít have the resources for enough food, but there are a lot of challenges out there."

Committee Chairman Mike Conaway from Texas spoke to the Crop Insurance Industry Annual Convention Monday and said the House Ag Committee bill they eventually move will include a strong crop insurance component, and he is ready to fight any attempts to weaken crop insurance.

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