AFIA calls for greater animal disease mitigation resources as Vilsack returns to the helm of USDA

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Matt Anderson
© GettyImages/Matt Anderson

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The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) has welcomed the US Senate's confirmation of the Biden administration’s nomination of Tom Vilsack as head of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

It will be Vilsack’s second time in that role. He previously served as US agriculture secretary under US President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017. 

The US Senate voted 92 to 7 yesterday to confirm Vilsack as the USDA lead.

We have a lot of work ahead of us to contain the pandemic, transform America’s food system, create fairer markets for producers, ensure equity and root out systemic barriers, develop new income opportunities with climate smart practices, increase access to healthy and nutritious food, and make historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy in rural America,”​ he said afterwards.

In congratulating Vilsack, AFIA CEO, Constance Cullman, reminded the new USDA lead that, with the constant threat of animal disease entering the US, the trade body continues to demand that the agency set aside the resources it needs to not only improve agricultural research and mitigate disease risks, but to create a best-in-class preparedness and response network.

“We hope that the agency will continue its efforts to harmonize the regulatory framework across the agencies responsible for bringing novel human and animal nutrition-improving technologies to market.

“Modernizing our rural infrastructure will allow the agriculture industry to fully participate in a more connected world and we stand ready to work with the agency to turn this priority into a reality.”

The AFIA will also look to support Secretary Vilsack in his diplomatic efforts to ensure science-based standards and regulations remain a top priority in terms of export markets, said the head of the US feed trade group.

“Our industry is the vital link between crop and animal agriculture. Just as our customers rely on us to keep animals fed, we rely on government leaders such as Secretary Vilsack who have built their careers around supporting the long-term economic growth of this essential sector.”

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