AFIA’s President and CEO Constance Cullman issued the following statement today (Feb. 23) following Vilsack’s U.S. Senate confirmation on Capitol Hill:
“On behalf of our nearly 700 members in the U.S. animal food industry, we extend our congratulations to Secretary Vilsack for his appointment to lead the USDA.
"He understands that with 6,200 manufacturing facilities across the country generating more than 246.4 million tons of animal food annually, 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.
“With the constant threat of animal disease knocking at our borders, we will continue our calls for the USDA to have 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.
“As our international counterparts and organizations convene to develop strategies to reduce food insecurity and environmental impact, we will support Secretary Vilsack in his diplomatic efforts to ensure science-based standards and regulations remain a top priority.
"Our members are committed to providing expertise and counsel to the USDA delegates charged with ensuring agriculture has a firm footing in 21st century trade agreements.”