June 17, 2022

Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Recognizing National Pollinator Week

  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) proclamation in recognition and support of National Pollinator Week (June 20 – 26, 2022). Pollinator species, such as bees, other insects, birds, and bats play a critical role in producing more than 100 crops grown in the United States. Honey bee pollination alone adds more than $18 billion in value to agricultural crops annually.

USDA Announces Assistance for On-Farm Food Safety Expenses for Specialty Crop Growers

  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plans to provide up to $200 million in assistance for specialty crop producers who incur eligible on-farm food safety program expenses to obtain or renew a food safety certification in calendar years 2022 or 2023. USDA’s new Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops (FSCSC) program will help to offset costs for specialty crop producers to comply with regulatory requirements and market-driven food safety certification requirements, which is part of USDA’s broader effort to transform the food system to create a more level playing field for small and medium producers and a more balanced, equitable economy for everyone working in food and agriculture.

June 21, 2022

Fact Sheet: Supporting the Wildland Firefighting Workforce

  • For decades, federal wildland firefighters have faced the challenges of longer, more severe fire years, while their pay has lagged behind their counterparts in the private sector and state and local governments. Decades of shifting development patterns, land and fire management decisions, and climate change have turned fire “seasons” into fire “years,” with increasingly destructive fires stretching the limit of available firefighting resources, year after year. Federal firefighters also lack an official, uniform occupational title within the federal government – the remnant of creative occupational workarounds from decades ago. This has since become counterproductive and fails to recognize the unique, dangerous, and highly skilled work they do. The Biden-Harris Administration has led efforts to address these issues, and together with partner agencies, USDA is taking the steps necessary to build the well-supported, more permanent wildland firefighting force needed to address the wildfire crisis.

June 22, 2022

Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Congressional Deal for Child Nutrition

  • “USDA’s child nutrition programs provide nutritious meals to America’s children. The school and other nutrition professionals who make these meals possible need additional resources and continued flexibilities as they grapple with the ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic. The deal announced yesterday by Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Boozman and Chairman Scott and Ranking Member Foxx would ease uncertainty and bring a measure of relief to our schools, summer sites and child care feeding programs. I want to thank these members, as well as Chairwoman DeLauro and all of Congress for taking this important step forward. It is important to note that schools across the country still face ongoing challenges and at USDA we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to ensure kids get the nutritious meals they need and deserve.”

June 23, 2022

Secretary Vilsack Directs USDA Forest Service to Take Bold Action to Restore Forests, Improve Resilience, and Curb Climate Change

  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a memorandum to the USDA Forest Service directing the agency to take bold actions to restore forests, improve resilience, and address the climate crisis. Secretary Vilsack made his announcement in recorded remarks at the inaugural1t.org US Chapter Summit held to discuss how the coalition can support federal efforts to conserve, restore and grow forests across the country.

USDA Forest Service Announces Plans to Open Comments on Rainy River Mineral Withdrawal in Northern Minnesota

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management is announcing that they will soon be opening up public comment on an Environmental Assessment requesting to withdraw lands from new mineral leasing for 20 years in the Rainy River watershed. The Rainy River watershed is adjacent to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in the Superior National Forest.

USDA Announces Additional Farm Service Agency and Rural Development State Directors

  • President Joe Biden announced his intent to appoint five U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regional positions, including three Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Directors and two Rural Development (RD) State Directors.

June 24, 2022

USDA Announces Next Steps in Biden-Harris Administration Initiative to Increase the Benefits of Federal Investments Going to Underserved Communities

  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the next steps in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) efforts to ensure that as part of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, Federal investments benefit communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution and underinvestment. The list of USDA programs (PDF, 177 KB) announced today are part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government approach to achieve environmental justice.

Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Supreme Court Ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

  • “There is no question that today’s Supreme Court decision will have a devastating impact on the health and autonomy of women in America. Yesterday, the right to privacy was secure, with fifty years of precedent behind it. Today, six Supreme Court Justices took that right away for millions, and jeopardized it for all Americans. I’m particularly concerned about what this will mean for women and families in rural America. Yesterday, their health care options were limited. Today, the hurdles they face in accessing reproductive care have grown taller. The Department stands ready to explore the tools at our disposal to support them.”

Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Passage of Keep Kids Fed Act

  • “I am pleased to see that Congress has taken action to provide much needed support to help USDA’s child nutrition programs serve nutritious meals to America’s children. Throughout the pandemic, the school nutrition professionals who feed our children faced enormous challenges, which persist today, and they desperately need additional resources and continued flexibilities. The deal passed by Congress will ease some of the uncertainty and provide partial relief to our schools, summer sites and child care feeding programs. As I have said before, it is important to note that schools across the country will still face ongoing challenges and at USDA we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to ensure kids get the nutritious meals they need and deserve.”


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