Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman focused on farm policy and USDA’s priorities during a town hall-style conversation at the 96th AFBF Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show.

In his opening remarks, Vilsack thanked Farm Bureau members for assistance in helping secure the 2014 farm bill, strong ag education and farm safety initiatives, and involvement in the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance.

Vilsack also praised the Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge, which gives entrepreneurs the chance to pitch innovative business ideas to judges and compete for prize money to implement their ideas.

“It has been extraordinarily helpful in encouraging investors across the U.S. to understand opportunities that exist in rural America,” Vilsack said. He then briefly discussed USDA priorities which include enhanced trade access for U.S. farm goods, rural development, increasing the number of beginning farmers and ranchers and encouraging veterans to enter into agriculture. Vilsack responded to questions from a standing-room only audience of farmers and ranchers.

Watch a video of the town hall online at http://new.livestream.com/FarmBureau/events/3705975.