USDA Secretary Vilsack’s Second Term Must Meet Today’s Escalating Food and Farm Challenges, Scientists Say

Statement by Ricardo Salvador, Director of Food & Environment Program at Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Feb 23, 2021

WASHINGTON (February 23, 2021)—The Senate confirmed former Iowa governor, Tom Vilsack, as Secretary of Agriculture. This is Vilsack’s second time helming the Department of Agriculture (USDA), having done so from 2009 to 2017 during the Obama administration.

Below is a statement by Ricardo Salvador, a senior scientist and director of the Food & Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Today the Senate voted overwhelmingly to confirm the nomination of Tom Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture. We congratulate and welcome Mr. Vilsack on his return to the post, as there is not a minute to waste. On day one he faces a series of crises: the pandemic thrusting millions of people into hunger, the climate crisis, the imperative to rebuild rural economies undermined by export-oriented business models, and a U.S. Department of Agriculture that itself needs rebuilding after being gutted by four years of chaotic and unscientific management.

“The USDA has never been more in need of steady leadership for solutions in the public interest, and we look forward to working with Secretary Vilsack and his team to meet the urgent challenges the department faces.”