USDA Official Defends Closed Door Meeting


LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- A U.S. Department of Agriculture official has defended closing a meeting with Nebraska agriculture interest groups from the public and media.

Acting Deputy USDA Secretary Michael Scuse said after Wednesday's meeting in Lincoln that closing the meeting gives those in attendance a chance for "more open and honest dialogue."

Dan Steinkruger is state director of the Nebraska Farm Service Agency. He was at the meeting, too, and he later told the Journal Star that "it's just easier" to close such sessions.

The USDA was discussing efforts to pass the 2013 farm bill with Nebraska commodity groups and state and university representatives.

At stake in the legislation for nonfarming taxpayers are subsidies for crop insurance, for example, and potential cuts to food stamps.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.