Posted by: beyonddinner | March 7, 2009

Obama’s priorities for the USDA

I recently read a transcript from a speech by Vilsack at the Agriculture Outlook Forum 2009 where he talks about the priorities given to him by President Obama, which are:

  • more nutritious food for children
  • increasing America’s ability to produce energy via farms and ranches
  • wants agriculture to transition away from its dependence on fossil fuels.

I am strongly behind the 1st and 3rd goals and I’m waiting to see how the 2nd one turns out.  I hope that it means using the land to harness more wind and solar energy rather than solely concentrating on biofuels.



  1. Tracy,

    Encouraging transcript followed by a bit of discouraging news today around the “same ol’ same ol'” approach to Ethanol. From the AP:

    WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the government should move quickly to increase the amount of ethanol allowed in gasoline.

    Ethanol producers asked the Environmental Protection Agency last week to increase the amount of ethanol that refiners can blend with gasoline from a maximum of 10% to 15 percent, which could boost the demand for the renewable fuel additive by as much as 6 billion gallons a year. However, automobile and small engine manufacturers have said there’s no certainty yet that such an increase will not harm engines and fuel lines.

    “We can, we believe, move fairly quickly to move the blend rate to 12 or 13% in the interim,” Mr. Vilsack told a friendly audience of farmers on Monday, adding that it could eventually be boosted to 15% or 20%.

    It is up to the EPA to lift the cap. Adora Andy, the EPA’s press secretary, said in a statement Friday that the agency will review the request and “act based on the best available science.”

    The ethanol producers contend that by raising the maximum amount of ethanol allowed in a gallon of gasoline, it would increase demand for the fuel additive and create thousands of new jobs as the industry — which has been reeling in today’s tough economic times — boosts production.

    Mr. Vilsack spoke to the National Farmers Union annual convention Monday in Arlington, Va.

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