Senate Ag Committee Advances Vilsack's Nomination as Ag Secretary to Full Senate For Expected Confirmation VoteTue, 02 Feb 2021 15:54:46 CST
Following a two-hour overwhelmingly friendly Senate Agriculture Committee hearing Tuesday, Tom Vilsack’s nomination for Agriculture Secretary has been advanced to the Senate for what is expected to be a quick confirmation.
Touching on a variety of topics ranging from climate change policies to foreign trade to livestock market transparency, Vilsack addressed questions from the committee via a virtual video connection.
Vilsack, who was USDA chief during the Obama Administration, opened the hearing by quoting Robert Kennedy about “Why Not Moments” in agriculture.
He highlighted four key “why not” moments: climate change, food security and nutrition insecurity, competitive markets and USDA fair treatment.
During the Q and A session with committee members, he talked about working with the U.S. Trade Representative’s office to promote trade and implement free trade agreements.
Vilsack said he shared President Biden’s net zero emission policy to provide a competitive edge in global markets.
He voiced strong support for a carbon capture program that provides strong economic incentives for farmers.
Responding to a question from acting committee chair Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) about the farm economy, Vilsack said agriculture is well positioned to take the lead on getting the economy back on tract.
Vilsack said he would focus on export market opportunities, create new markets in southeast Asia and Africa, grow domestic markets and develop bio-based manufacturing.
He emphasized there would still need to be a focus on risk management with a strong crop insurance program and adequate safety net for farmers.
Vilsack assured Sen. Amy Klobachur (D-Minn.) he supports a strong biofuels policy and would continue to push for more federal vehicles, including the military, to use biofuels.
Vilsack said it is important to have a national animal vaccine bank to enable us to respond quickly to a disease outbreak which would protect both animals and people.
He said he is committed to using CCC (Commodity Credit Corporation) funds to implement farm bill programs and to create the market flexibility options granted to his predecessor Sonny Perdue.
Vilsack also said it is imperative to have livestock market transparency and the need for more livestock harvesting capacity.
You can click on the listen bar below to hear Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Editor Sam Knipp’s report on Vilsack’s time in the box with the agriculture committee.
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