Vilsack says USDA focus shifting to profit focus for farmers

Ag Secretary Vilsack says his priorities at USDA for the food system post-COVID are moving from a production focus to a profit focus for farmers*.

On the Forbes “Thrive” Summit – Vilsack said that means growing new and better markets.

“We need to be less reliant on one or two countries and more reliant on a number of countries. And so, deepening our presence in Southeast Asia. Focusing our efforts, eventually, in Africa. Working to make sure we’re maximizing our opportunities in Central and South America.

He says making sure existing trade agreements like the USMCA are followed through – as well as maximizing and monetizing the carbon economy.

“The opportunity for us to take a look at ways in which we can pay farmers for the storage of carbon, the sequestration of carbon, incenting climate-smart agricultural practices, increasing revenue opportunities.”

Vilsack says expanding local and regional food systems – so there’s less concentration – is also a goal and a lesson learned from the pandemic supply chain issues.

Vilsack says nearly 90% of farms don’t generate the sole income for farm families.

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