Grassley Urges Quick Confirmation of Vilsack at USDA, Lists Key Ag Issues

GOP Ag Senator Chuck Grassley calls for speedy confirmation of President Biden’s pick for Agriculture Secretary—former Obama USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Grassley says the Senate can now move forward to organize committees in a 50-50 power-sharing deal, with the hot issue of ending the Senate filibuster apparently, off the table, though the timing for Senate Ag’s organizing and holding a hearing on the Vilsack nod isn’t decided yet.

“When the hearing does happen, I would welcome the opportunity to introduce the former governor of Iowa to the committee. I think I did that ten-years ago. Secretary Vilsack needs to be confirmed as soon as possible, so that he can start the work of representing farmers in this administration,” according to Grassley. Grassley says his Iowa farmers want a strong Renewable Fuel Standard, transparency in the cattle markets, and continued farm bill ARC and PLC payments.

“Make sure that there’s no changes to the five-year farm program because we don’t usually change the five-year program in the middle, and I don’t want Biden coming in and changing them, because we’ve got to have certainty for farmers for that five-year period of time. And I hope one of the things, they’ll take advantage of the money that we put in the last CARES Act to reimburse biofuels producers,” says Grassley.

Grassley also hopes Vilsack will press for more free trade talks, though he predicts the new administration will be slow to get out of the gate in advancing new trade talks.