January 17, 2018

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack Addresses National Press Club

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack  addressed the National Press Club today and discussed a variety of topics including climate change, food waste and immigration. To help producers meet the challenges posed by climate change, the USDA is creating seven “Regional Climate Hubs” that will provide regional data, interpretation of climate change forecasts and natural resource management guidance. There will be a hub in the Northeast, Midwest, Southeast, Northern Plains, Southern Plains, Pacific Northwest, and Southwest.

usdaartCOMET-FARM, a new “Carbon Management and Evaluation Tool is part of the agency’s carbon sequestration initiative as is new guidance on cover crops which was developed with input from stakeholders, partner universities, and the crop insurance industry.

Vilsack talked about the USDA’s collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce wood waste. The goal of the U.S. Food Waste Challenge is to reduce the amount of food that ends up in landfills by encouraging people to buy what they need, donate what they can’t use and compost what they did finish.

He took questions from the audience. In response to one, about immigration reform, Vilsack said comprehensive reform would strengthen our economy, Social Security and the agriculture industry. In response to a question about unapproved genetically modified wheat that was found growing in an Oregon field last week, Vilsack said it was an isolated incident and there are no signs that the genetically engineered wheat has entered the food supply.

 

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