LYONS, NEBRASKA – Today, Thursday, Dec. 10, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack was nominated to be the next Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Kayla Bergman, policy associate at the Center for Rural Affairs, says the new administration needs to take strong stances in support of rural America.
“For almost 50 years, the Center for Rural Affairs has been a leading force in standing up for the family farmer and rancher, small business owner, and rural communities,” she said. “We look forward to working with Gov. Vilsack; President-Elect Joe Biden; and the new USDA leadership as they work for and with rural Americans.”
Bergman says increased support is needed for rural communities that are struggling economically, and USDA can make an impact through its wide diversity of programs, specifically:
- Strong financial and administrative support for the Conservation Stewardship Program, USDA’s leading working lands conservation program.
- Supporting rural entrepreneurship and rural microenterprises, and enacting policies that level the playing field for beginning, small, and mid-sized farmers.
- Working with rural Americans to incentivize and support implementation of climate-smart agriculture and expansion of renewable energy.
- Engaging with small meat processors, and working to address significant processing bottlenecks that are preventing many small livestock producers from being able to sell their meat.
“We believe the Center for Rural Affairs and the new administration have the same goal in mind: establish genuine opportunity for all in rural communities, leading to a bright and vibrant future,” Bergman said.
All Cabinet appointees, including Secretary of Agriculture, must be confirmed by the Senate. Vilsack served in the position under President Obama.
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