From World Dairy Expo, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today stressed the need for the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a Farm Bill. Vilsack told those in attendance that the Senate passed a Farm Bill with a bipartisan vote and the House Agriculture committee did the same. All that remains is for the full House to take up the bill, but House leadership has said there was not enough time.

"The House only scheduled eight days in September and then went home early," Vilsack said. "The Senate version of the Farm Bill had $23 billion in savings and the House Ag Committee had $34 billion in savings. By not passing a Farm Bill the opportunity for these savings could be lost."

"Secretary Vilsack's words today echo the sentiment of Wisconsin's and Minnesota's agricultural cooperative community," said Bill Oemichen, president and CEO of Cooperative Network. "Just get it done already."

Vilsack reminded those in attendance that not passing a Farm Bill could send farm programs back to the 1949 Farm Bill, which would mean a support price between $40 and $50. "This may sound good but it would have long term negative impact on the dairy industry," Vilsack said. He stressed the need to get it done now, as waiting until after the election will put Farm Bill discussions in with conversations on other issues that could be bad for agriculture.

Cooperative Network serves more than 600 member-cooperatives, owned by more than 6.1 million Minnesota and Wisconsin residents, by providing government relations, education, marketing, and technical services for a wide variety of cooperatives including farm supply, health, dairy marketing, consumer, financial, livestock marketing, telecommunications, electric, housing, insurance, worker-owned, and more. For more information about Cooperative Network, visit