Robert Aderholt, (R-AL)
This is an excerpt reprinted with permission from The Hagstrom Report, a news service providing original national and international agricultural news to its subscribers.
House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., told Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today that he expects the 2015 dietary guidelines to be limited to nutrition and diet recommendations, Aderholt said in a news release.
Vilsack testified today before the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.
Aderholt said he “took the opportunity of Secretary Vilsack’s appearance to ask pointed and direct questions about new dietary recommendations made last week by an advisory committee of supposed experts selected by the administration.”
“I believe these recommendations, which claim that red meat production is damaging to the environment and proposed taxes on certain foods, go far beyond the panel’s purview.”
Aderholt noted that Vilsack “has previously said that these advisory committees have ‘greater latitude to opine’ than he does, but I made it clear to Secretary Vilsack that I along with our committee expect his final report to only include nutrient and dietary recommendations and will not include environmental opinions or extraneous factors.”
In an opening statement, Aderholt also said that:
“USDA must also tighten controls for areas subject to large expenditures with unclear results and where performance tasks or milestones are not met, such as information technology investments.” USDA has proposed substantial changes to its trade programs “and we will need to carefully evaluate them to ensure that we continue progress and not undermine these areas.”
USDA’s budget request “includes increases for discretionary and mandatory programs that appear to disregard the debt crisis facing our nation.”
USDA and the Food and Drug Administration are requesting increased resources to assist with the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act but “the subcommittee and the American public need assurance that the agencies are coordinating efforts and pursuing effective means for implementation.”
“I'm especially concerned about the major changes proposed to the crop insurance program. Farmers have endured an estimated 43 percent decline in net farm income over the last two years. They are experiencing tough economic times with sharply lower crop prices and a number of natural disasters. There are a number of uncertain economic factors in the future.”
“Yet, USDA is proposing to reduce crop insurance by $16 billion, a reduction of over 17 percent, and make it increasingly difficult for them to secure funding. I join my fellow colleague Mike Conaway, who is the chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, in requesting that we not adversely change the rules of the farm bill. And I certainly do not want to do so through the appropriations process.”
“The Ryan Murray deal signed into law in 2013 caps overall spending as well as defense and non-defense spending. I anticipate that the subcommittee’s funding levels will remain relatively flat at best. USDA’s budget request largely exceeds the 2015 enacted funding levels. Today and in the months ahead, we must analyze the request and focus on allocating the funding using the goals that I have outlined to the most effective, highest priority programs.”
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