DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says Congress has no more important work now than to pass a farm bill that reinstates expired disaster assistance programs. Farmers are now experiencing the worst drought in decades.
Programs authorized in the 2008 farm bill have expired and can't be reinstated unless the House approves a bill passed by the Senate. But House Republican leaders have not scheduled a vote.
Vilsack toured drought-stricken Iowa farms Monday. He says farmers will be allowed to expand use of acres placed in a conservation program to grow hay and graze.
Farmers also may sell hay from conservation land for the first time to help neighbors desperately in need of cattle feed.
The government also has asked crop insurers to forego interest charges on unpaid premiums through Nov. 1.