Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on America Stepping Forward Boldly

Interview by Billy Shore

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

How can American learn and grow from the COVID19 public health crisis? U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack talks child hunger, economic reforms, and this generation’s opportunity to step forward boldly in response to the pandemic. During this year’s Share Our Strength Rural Childhood Hunger Summit, keynote speaker Vilsack describes how COVID19 has affected so many American families, and how the American Rescue Plan is a critical first step to rebuild our country’s economy. “Once you have an understanding of the cracks that have been shown, it is up to us – this generation of Americans – to respond to that challenge,” he says.

“What a great legacy it would be for this generation of Americans who have gone through COVID, to take a horrific tragedy and turn it into an amazing opportunity to provide help and assistance to make sure no child is hungry,” Vilsack believes.

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Tom Vilsack

Tom Vilsack

Thomas J. Vilsack was confirmed as the 32nd United States Secretary of Agriculture on Feb. 23, 2021 by the U.S. Senate. He was nominated by President Joe Biden to return to a role where he served for eight years under President Barack Obama. As leader of the U.S. Department of Agriculture as the 30th Secretary of Agriculture between 2009-2017, Vilsack worked hard to strengthen the American agricultural economy, build vibrant rural communities and create new markets for innovation in rural America. He fought to put Americans back to work by investing in rural infrastructure, renewable energy and large-scale conservation partnerships. Under his leadership, USDA supported America's farmers, ranchers and growers who drove the rural economy forward, set records for U.S. agricultural exports, provided food assistance to millions of Americans, and helped provide a safe, sufficient and nutritious food supply for the American people. USDA introduced healthier food choices in school meals to benefit 50 million children during Vilsack’s tenure and expanded free and reduced-price lunches for millions of kids.