Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made a plea to the Senate Ag Appropriations Committee in an effort to get help for the nation’s farmers and ranchers who are struggling. The committee met this week to review President Biden’s budget proposal for the Department of Agriculture.
“I represented farmers during the 1980s as a small-town lawyer. I can tell you the pain. I can tell you the stress. I can tell you the decisions that folks make under these circumstances. I can tell very tragic decisions that they make under these circumstances,” he said. “So I would hope that as we talk about the future of agriculture in this country that we don’t lose sight of those [24,673] farm families. They deserve our attention. They deserve some creative thought about how we may be able to assist them during this pandemic-stricken time, and I sincerely hope that we can work collaboratively together in a bipartisan way to make sure that they have a hopeful future as opposed to the one that is currently stress-filled today.”
In terms of what the USDA needs for funding, Secretary Vilsack hit on several points.
“This Budget begins to reinvest in USDA’s long-overlooked workforce through investments in staff and technology, as well as the foundations of our country’s strength: education, research, food security, safe and affordable housing, and productive lands,” he said. “These are all areas that for far too long their funding has been stagnant or nearly level. The work proposed by this budget will spur new job creation and opportunities in rural America; help build resilience in the food supply chain and restore America’s advantage in agriculture; leverage all of USDA’s expertise to address climate change; and support a stronger nutrition safety net.”
You can download a PDF of Secretary Vilsack’s full written testimony by clicking here.
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.
Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.