October 5, 2022


Latest technological developments

Agriculture secretary nominee Vilsack endorses biofuels push

Tom Vilsack, Joe Biden

FILE – In this Dec. 11, 2020, file photograph previous Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who the Biden administration chose to reprise that part, speaks for the duration of an event at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. (AP Image/Susan Walsh, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Tom Vilsack, President Joe Biden’s nominee for secretary of agriculture, pledged Tuesday to target on local weather transform initiatives and operate to deal with racial inequities in agricultural support packages.

Vilsack, who testified before the Senate Agriculture, Nourishment and Forestry Committee, would deliver considerably on-the-job encounter to the position. In addition to serving two conditions as the governor of Iowa, he expended eight yrs as President Barack Obama’s Agriculture Secretary.

In his opening remarks, Vilsack, 70, sought to dispel issues that he would be coming to the work with antiquated strategies.

“I understand that I am back again again. But I also recognize that this is a essentially different time,” he mentioned, referencing a need to rebuild components of the country’s agricultural infrastructure in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The truth is we lacked openness, fairness and competitiveness and resiliency, as the COVID-19 disaster has demonstrated, in numerous of our agricultural markets,” he stated.

In his testimony, Vilsack intensely endorsed boosting weather-pleasant agricultural industries these as the generation of biofuels.

“Agriculture is a single of our to start with and greatest methods to get some wins in this weather area,” he reported.

He proposed “building a rural economic climate based on biomanufacturing” and “turning agricultural waste into a wide range of goods.” He pledged to function closely with the Environmental Protection Agency to “spur the industry” on biofuels.

Republican Joni Ernst of Iowa questioned no matter if Vilsack’s motivation to biofuels would clash with the Biden administration’s public commitment to swap the federal motor vehicle fleet to electrical autos and vehicles.

“We’re heading to require each,” he responded, indicating there was room for both of those local climate-welcoming industries to thrive and pointing out that the Navy has started to deploy warships that operate partly on biofuel.

With systemic racial inequity now a nationwide talking position, Vilsack mentioned the Agriculture Office desired to severely study if it was sufficiently supporting farmers of color.

He envisioned an “equity taskforce” to establish what he named “intentional or unintended obstacles that make it challenging for individuals to entry the systems.”

Sonny Perdue, agriculture secretary in the Trump administration, sought to purge hundreds of countless numbers of persons from the SNAP or Supplemental Diet Support Program — commonly recognized as food stuff stamps. That exertion was defeated in courtroom, and Vilsack claimed the SNAP method was specifically vital to the country’s recovery from the pandemic.

He claimed he wanted his division to get the job done specifically with governors throughout the state to make certain SNAP benefits were being staying accessed easily and to tackle the situation of foodstuff deserts in minimal-earnings communities.

“It’s all perfectly and fantastic to give someone a SNAP card and say, ‘Go to your area grocery shop and buy much more food items,’” he explained. “That’s wonderful, assuming you have a grocery keep. But if you really don’t have a grocery shop, what then?”

Vilsack appears to delight in bipartisan help and faced no severe criticism from Republicans on the committee. Senators from each functions seemed to deal with his confirmation as a foregone conclusion, and at just one level New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand referred to Vilsack as “Mr. shortly-to-be Secretary.”