Tom Vilsack, President Joe Biden’s nominee for secretary of agriculture, has pledged to focus on climate initiatives and work towards addressing racial inequities in agricultural incentive programs.
Tom Vilsack, President Joe Biden's nominee for secretary of agriculture, has pledged to focus on climate initiatives and work towards addressing racial inequities in agricultural incentive programs.
Testifying before the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, Vilsack is expected to bring a lot of on-the-job experience to the position.
Apart from serving two terms as the governor of Iowa, he was President Barack Obama’s Agriculture Secretary for eight years.
AP News reports that on his testimony, Vilsack strongly endorsed boosting climate-friendly agricultural practices such as the introduction of biofuels.
“Agriculture is one of our first and best ways to get some wins in this climate area,” he said. He proposed “building a rural economy based on biomanufacturing” and “turning agricultural waste into a variety of products.” He pledged to work closely with the Environmental Protection Agency to “spur the industry” on biofuels.
Vilsack also pointed out that the Agriculture Department needs to seriously examine systematic racial inequity accusations, and see if it was sufficiently supporting farmers of color.
He said that the SNAP or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — commonly known as food stamps, that the Trump administration sought to reduce was vital to the country’s recovery from the pandemic.
The good thing is that Vilsack seems to enjoy bipartisan support and faces no serious criticism from Republicans on the committee.