Today, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson held a hearing to discuss U.S. agriculture policy in advance of the 2012 Farm Bill with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

The Farm Bill is major legislation that authorizes many government farm support, conservation, energy, trade, marketing, food assistance, and rural development programs over several years. The current farm bill, the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 was signed into law in 2008, and many of the provisions in that bill will expire in September 2012.

"This hearing is the first step in the process of writing the next Farm Bill. A bill this large and that covers so many important issues takes a lot of time and effort to get it right, and I am committed to a process that is open, transparent, and bipartisan,"

said Chairman Peterson. "I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and from all regions of the country to be sure that we put together a bill that supports the food, fiber, conservation, energy and rural development needs of this country."