Vilsack: Trip to Italy is Good for American Agriculture

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack is at the G20 Agricultural Minister’s Meeting in Florence, Italy, this week. Vilsack says it’s an important trip for many reasons, one of which is to show the world that America is getting back into the world trade market.

“We just finished, in essence, the opening of this G-20 meeting. I think it was important for me, personally, to be here to send a strong message that the United States is re-engaging significantly in trade discussions and trade activities on the international stage. Now, I think probably 25 to 30 ag ministers and commissioners across the globe, almost to a person, they are pleased that the U.S. is re-engaging.” 

Vilsack says the U.S. is doing the right thing in working together with other countries.

“It’s reassuring to me that the United States is on the right track as it deals with issues ranging from climate change to farm income. I think all of us have acknowledged that agriculture is facing some significant challenges because of climate, because of COVID. There was a real commitment and understanding of the need for us to act collaboratively and cooperatively on dealing with these issues, that it will, in fact, require us to transform the system of agriculture in our respective countries and globally with bold action that results ultimately in a more resilient system.”

One topic of conversation at the G20 is the increasing role that biofuels can play in sustainable agriculture around the world.

“I was pleased to see that there was an acknowledgment by many of the speakers of the significant role that renewable energy will play, and needs to play, as part of the rural infrastructure for a more sustainable agricultural system, and a recognition that energy produced on-farm and for farms can help reduce costs and also can increase potential income.”

Vilsack says his trip to Italy should be important to U.S. farmers as well.

“We’re using this summit, as a focal point for developing this coalition, which, in turn, will strengthen our ability to make us more competitive in the global marketplace, will strengthen our ability to take full advantage of market value that’s now being attributed and attached to sustainably produced food, and that it will qualify, eventually, farmers for credits that may be out there with carbon markets.”