More USDA nominees in the pipeline, says Vilsack

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."

Climate mitigation is actually agricultural market development, says Vilsack

The USDA will put a "significant" amount of money into large-scale pilot projects of climate-smart agricultural practices to create new markets for sustainably produced products, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday. In announcing the initiative, which would go into effect next year, he painted dollar signs on his picture of climate mitigation.

International contest of ideas: Farm to Fork vs. productivity coalition

The United States will launch a "coalition for productivity growth" to promote the use of high-tech tools such as gene editing and precision agriculture to build a more sustainable food system, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday. The coalition would stand in contrast to the EU's Farm to Fork Strategy of greatly reducing the use of fertilizers and pesticides and putting 25 percent of European farmland into organic production.

USDA puts $67 million to new program for heirs’ property owners

The Department of Agriculture on Thursday will announce $67 million in funding for owners of heirs’ property, aiming to address a leading cause of land loss among Black and low-income farmers. The money will be distributed through the agency’s new Heirs’ Property Relending Program (HPRP) that Congress directed the USDA to create in the 2018 farm bill.

Moore will be first Black chief of the Forest Service

Randy Moore, a career USDA employee who now oversees 20 million acres of national forests in California, will be the first Black chief of the U.S. Forest Service in its 116-year history, announced Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday.

With eye to revival, USDA to revisit animal welfare rule for organic farms

Eleven months after President Trump took office, the USDA said it lacked the authority to implement livestock welfare rules for organic farmers, despite having spent years working on them. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Thursday that the USDA will reconsider that 2017 interpretation, a step that could lead to a revival of the regulation to give chickens, pigs, and cattle on organic farms more elbow room than they commonly get on factory farms.

USDA to implement up to $4 billion in pandemic aid through mid-August

Biofuel producers, dairy farmers and meat processors will receive a major portion of up to $4 billion in coronavirus aid programs that will be implemented over the next 60 days, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Tuesday. He also said the USDA will take "a pretty unique approach," which could include a revolving loan program, to help small meat packers go into business or expand.

Vilsack aims for ‘transformational change’ in strengthening U.S. food system

The Biden administration earmarked $4 billion on Tuesday to strengthen the U.S. food system, including an expansion of local and regional food processing capacity. Aiming to increase competition, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he hoped to see "new entries" in the highly concentrated processing sector.

Bronaugh cleared for Senate vote to be deputy agriculture secretary

After nearly three months alone at the USDA, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is on the verge of being joined by a Biden appointee with sub-cabinet rank. On a voice vote with no objections, the Senate Agriculture Committee cleared Jewel Bronaugh on Monday for a floor vote to become deputy …