USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack Tells NIAA Convention He is Focused on Creating a More Economically Equitable System For All Ag ProducersThu, 22 Apr 2021 08:47:51 CDT
During his address to the annual meeting of the National Institute of Animal Agriculture (NIAA) this week, USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack focused much of his remarks on creating a more economically equitable system for all agriculture producers.
Acknowledging the pandemic has uniquely impacted animal agriculture, Vilsack outlined the many ways USDA has supported the industry since the pandemic hit.
The USDA will do more in the months ahead, but we can’t continue business as usual, he said.
We need to transform our food system, he said, noting it is impacting U.S. competitiveness in a variety of ways, Vilsack said.
He listed the financial strain, a fragile production system that relies on monoculture, growing consolidation and lack of equity.
We must put food, agriculture and forestry at the center of climate smart practices, he said.
Concentration is a reality and high levels create problems such as exposing supply chain issues, economic pressures and market abuses that limit economic opportunity, he said.
We want the United States to be known for its sustainability, Vilsack said.
USDA supports the vision of a net zero economy and agriculture, he said.
We’re investing in rural America as a way to address the climate crisis and improve farmers’ bottom lines, he noted.
I believe farmers want and need to be a part of meeting this challenge, Vilsack said.
U.S. farmers and ranchers can estimate the greenhouse gas mitigation and or carbon sequestration potential of a suite of conservation practices using state of the art tools from the NRCS, Vilsack said.
We know the cost of ongoing climate crisis will be high and we can’t afford to wait, he said.
The USDA chief called for a united effort for everyone to work together to create a more just and equitable sector.
This is long overdue, he said.
Quoting an economic analysis that stated the failure to address economic inequities has cost the American economy $16 trillion over 20 years, Vilsack said the USDA is focused on creating changes essential to advancing equity.
Click on the listen bar below to hear more of Vilsacks’ comments to the NIAA.
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