In his second attempt to fill the post, President Biden nominated Doug McKalip on Wednesday to be the U.S. chief agricultural negotiator, working with U.S. trade representative Katherine Tai. The post has been vacant since Biden took office, to the increasing dismay of farm-state lawmakers and the agribusiness sector.
The pandemic exposed the weaknesses of a food system built around large-volume production and national supply chains, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday. As a remedy, he said, the USDA would help independent processors start up or expand their operations and encourage local marketing.
Republican senators slammed the Biden administration on Thursday for high inflation nationwide and said the USDA should free American farmers to plant as much land as they want to avert a potential food crisis. “We’re all hammered with” inflation, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
The United States was "greatly disappointed" by Canada's refusal to allow larger imports of U.S. dairy products despite a USMCA trade ruling, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday. Vilsack expressed solidarity with U.S. dairy groups that called for retaliatory tariffs on Canadian goods, telling reporters, "Stay tuned."
Beginning later this month, farmers across the nation will receive around $6 billion in disaster relief for losses due to catastrophic weather and wildfires, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday. The money, part of $10 billion earmarked for agricultural disasters, would be paid through the new Emergency Relief Program (ERP) to offset lower yields and value losses, said the Agriculture Department.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack “will continue his official duties” while isolating and recovering from Covid-19, said the Agriculture Department on Saturday. Vilsak is the latest among Washington officials, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Attorney General Merrick Garland, to test …
U.S. poultry producers have strengthened their safeguards against disease, and the nation may see "significantly less" damage from this year's outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday. The 2014-'15 bird flu epidemic killed more than 50 million birds, mostly chickens and turkeys, in domestic flocks and created spot shortages of eggs in grocery stores.
The United States stands ready to provide food aid overseas if it is needed in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a letter to grain merchandisers. At the same time, the letter closed the door to suggestions for the emergency planting of crops on land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve, saying it would be impractical.
Food stamp enrollment will remain high well into 2023 due to the lingering effects of the pandemic and its disruption of the U.S. economy, said the Agriculture Department in its proposed budget for the new fiscal year. It estimated an average 43.5 million people would receive food stamps during fiscal 2023, a 3 percent increase from this year.
Nearly a year after Tom Vilsack became agriculture secretary, his corps of sub-cabinet executives, the eight undersecretaries who oversee each wing of the USDA's activities, is just half filled. The White House has yet to announce candidates for two of the posts, and two other nominations await Senate action.
The senior Republican on the House Agriculture Committee accused the USDA of exceeding its authority — "We're the ones that authorize programs"— by launching a $1 billion initiative to develop climate-smart commodities on Tuesday. A senior Republican on the committee joined the attack, asking, "How can a $1 billion program even be described as a pilot program?"
Although sales are forecast to dip this year, U.S. farm exports hit a record $177 billion during 2021, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Tuesday. The previous calendar-year record was $154.5 billion in 2014, at the end of the seven-year commodity boom.
Congress could use the 2023 farm bill to promote a “circular economy” that creates jobs and income in rural America rather than relying on rural areas for raw materials that are processed elsewhere, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday. “That's an important component of any farm bill discussion of the future,” he told reporters.
In a video message to a sector that overwhelmingly voted against him, President Biden told farmers on Monday, "you have a partner in the White House" who is pursuing agricultural prosperity and fair prices in the marketplace. Biden, who has assailed meatpackers for high profits during the pandemic, pointed to a proposed $1 billion to expand slaughter capacity and efforts to keep ag exports moving despite port congestion.
After years of U.S. prodding, India has agreed to allow imports of U.S. pork and pork products, said the Biden administration on Monday. Despite being the second-most populous nation on earth, India imports small amounts of pork at present, but U.S. farm groups believe there is great potential for sales.
USDA "critical services" will not be disrupted by the Biden administration mandate for federal workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19, said the department on Monday as the deadline passed for inoculations. Farm and livestock groups said earlier this month the mandate might leave the USDA short of meat inspectors or staff at its local offices.
The farm sector would gain $27 billion for climate mitigation, including payments for planting cover crops, from the social welfare and climate change bill passed by the House, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Agriculture can lead the way in the fight on climate with climate-smart agriculture and forestry practices that sequester carbon, reduce emissions and create new and better market opportunities for producers."
The White House is currently vetting possible nominees for key sub-cabinet positions at the USDA, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack during a teleconference on Thursday. "I suspect we will be seeing nominees soon on some of those vacancies."