Vilsack Seeks to Reduce Ag Disruptions
Ag Secretary nominee Tom Vilsack says the COVID-19 pandemic has been a wake-up call for Americans about the need to shore up weaknesses in the food supply chain.
Vilsack was speaking to an online symposium hosted by Colorado State University’s Coalition for Epi Response, Engagement, and Science (CERES). He says he will work to minimize disruptions in the food and ag industry.
Vilsack; “Because of its impacts, I think so many people don’t understand the food and agriculture industry is a really large part of the American economy. Some studies suggest that as much as 20% of the American economy is affected by the food and ag economy. Workforce, a tremendous number of people are employed directly or indirectly. One study had it that somewhere around 28% of the entire workforce of America is connected. So when we have a pandemic, when we have a disruption of the food and ag system, what we saw was massive unemployment, tremendous demand for food and nutrition assistance programs. And the system wasn’t in a position to make the pivot transition as quickly as possible. So there’s a lot of work that needs to be done in this space.”
Vilsack, who has been a strategic adviser to CSU, also said despite tensions between the US and China, the two nations need to cooperate on food and ag security issues as well as pandemic response and cybersecurity.
Vilsack will likely step into the Ag Secretary role for the second time after receiving bipartisan support from the Senate panel overseeing his nomination. Vilsack was pressed on biofuels and told the committee Biofuels play a role in reducing emissions and providing job opportunities in all parts of the country.”