Vilsack brainstorms plans to unify agriculture
US Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack has voiced commitment to making USDA programs and US agriculture more inclusive.
“We can do this as a single community, not as a divided community where we are pinning one against the other but recognizing that every single farm regardless of size has a role and an opportunity in all of this. We can create an understanding of unity here that I think our country is desperately in need of.”
During a “Free Range Conversation” hosted by American Farmland Trust Vilsack says local markets need to be enhanced to help small and mid-sized farms.
“Like creating a farm to school program. Creating a better understanding of how local and regional food systems can market to institutional purchasers of food so that you create your own market. So you don’t necessarily compete in the commodity based market where the price is set based on what’s happening half way around the world.”
He expects Deputy Secretary of Agriculture nominee Jewel Bronaugh, when confirmed, will play a large role in ensuring equity to disadvantaged farmers including recreating a Women in Agriculture Group.
“She’s going to bring with her a tremendous interest in making sure that the opportunities for farming are expanded to all in the socially disadvantaged category, including women.”
Under an executive order by President Biden USDA now has an equity commission of outside experts to review USDA programs as well as an internal working group to ensure programs are applied fairly.