On February 23, the United States Senate will hold a final confirmation vote for Tom Vilsack to serve as the next Secretary of Agriculture. Following a unanimous vote by members of the Senate Agriculture Committee on February 2, Vilsack is expected to be confirmed with strong bipartisan support this week. Ahead of his confirmation hearing with the Senate Agriculture Committee, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) and 47 other organizations expressed their support for Vilsack in a letter to the Agriculture Committee.
As previously reported, Mr. Vilsack is not a newcomer to this role, having served as Agriculture Secretary during all eight years of the Obama Administration. This experience will be invaluable as Mr. Vilsack will be tasked with leading the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as the agency tackles many of the challenges currently facing America’s hunters and anglers, in particular, our nation’s most historically notable and successful private land conservation programs. As reported last week, USDA recently extended the current signup period for the Conservation Reserve Program’s (CRP) 2021 general signup while the incoming administration explores opportunities to bolster enrollments and install conservation practices on more acres.
Vilsack’s leadership role on issues of importance to sportsmen and women goes beyond CRP and other Farm Bill programs. Specifically, Secretary Vilsack will also be responsible for the management of our National Forests through the U.S. Forest Service, efforts to control the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease, implementation of the Great American Outdoors Act, and the Biden Administration’s efforts to address the effects of climate change. Additionally, Vilsack will play a role in development and implementation of the 30 by 30 initiative outlined in Executive Order 14008 with potentially far-reaching impacts on hunting, angling, fish and wildlife management, and the conservation of habitat on both public and private working lands.
CSF looks forward to nominee Vilsack’s swift confirmation, and we look forward to working closely with Secretary Vilsack and his department as we continue to support sound programs to address our nation’s conservation challenges while working to increase access and opportunities for America’s sportsmen and women.
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