Vilsack: Some members of Congress hesitant to pass farm bill - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Vilsack: Some members of Congress hesitant to pass farm bill in election year

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SERGEANT BLUFF, Iowa (KTIV) -

U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack toured the AGP biodiesel plant, in Sergeant Bluff, Friday. But, it was the farm bill he focused on.

The current bill is set to expire at the end of the month. The new bill is stalled in the U-S House. "Let the House pass whatever they're going to pass and then whatever differences exist between the House and the Senate, put folks in a room and don't let them out until they've got a deal," said Vilsack.

Vilsack says many members of Congress may be hesitant to pass the bill because of the election, and because of concern about the depth of some cuts in programs.

Another important topic Vilsack addressed was how the ethanol industry is affecting food prices. While some news articles have suggested the amount of corn going toward biofuels and are driving up food prices, Vilsack says that's not painting the whole picture. "About a third of what is used to produce the ethanol comes back in the form of feed," said Vilsack. "That's never calculated. So, people will say 40% of our corn crop's used for producing...it's not really 40 percent, it's less than that." Vilsack added... energy prices, especially fuel, have a bigger effect on food prices. That's because of all of the shipping, processing and other steps that go into bringing food from the farm to the table.

He says he does expect to see food prices go up, due in large part to the drought, but maybe not until the end of the year.

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