Vilsack Says Biden Wants More COVID-19 Relief for Ag
President-Elect Joe Biden’s nominee for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) secretary, Tom Vilsack, met with over 25 of the country’s leading fruit and vegetable producers during a virtual meeting to discuss the new administration’s commitment to additional stimulus and relief. The goal of the meeting was to convey to the producers that the administration’s goal is to ensure the agriculture sector thrives and can provide Americans with nutritious and fresh foods.
Vilsack shared during the meeting that he plans to not only leverage the power of the USDA but will also work across agencies and with the federal government to advance a nutrition agenda that works for all Americans. The group considered the importance of getting the COVID-19 pandemic under control and the need to equitably and efficiently distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to farmers and workers as soon as possible, along with other supplies, such as PPE, housing, and other support for the agriculture community during these rocky times. Vilsack stated that the President-Elect is committed to working around the clock to support American farmers.
Notably, the topic of climate change was discussed as well, as it relates to our nation’s food supply chain. The producers expressed their interest in being part of the solution to climate change and their willingness to work with the USDA. They also requested the USDA to work more closely with the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on these efforts. The producers also shared their hopes that the new administration will take the time to understand the complexity of the agriculture community and the struggles they are facing. The groups stated they felt reassured with Vilsack and the President-Elect’s desire to work together to accomplish shared goals.