Tom Vilsack listed his top three priorities as Ag Secretary

In his confirmation hearing to become Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack listed three USDA agenda items that are relevant to ag producers.

The first involves trade and resolving issues with the U.S., Mexico, Canada agreement; helping U.S. ag build its profile in overseas markets, and seeking input from farmers.

According to Vilsack, “Historically, we’ve obviously looked at export market opportunities anywhere from 20-30 percent of what’s produced in this country is exported. So, clearly a stable and secure trade policy that does not create havoc in the market, that doesn’t put us at a competitive disadvantage would be helpful in terms of our ability to sell products overseas.”

He goes on to say, “We need to be a part of an effort to continue the promotion of U.S. agricultural products. I think if you have more presence, more partnerships and more promotions, you’ll have more trade... I think it’s fair to say we will aggressively pursue an effort to get farmer input to make sure that programs that we design and programs that we advance are ones that will work out of the field.”

Vilsack says that any carbon bank needs to be structured so that farmers are the principal beneficiaries.