Vilsack briefly booed at Iowa conference

U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack was briefly booed at the “Community Food Security Coalition” conference in Des Moines on Tuesday. The audience was made up of organic farmers and rural activists and one of them asked Vilsack what he’s doing to stop consolidation in agriculture so small-scale farms can thrive, “I have two sons and I love ‘em both.  And, your question is kind of, ‘Which son do you love the most?’  This is a difficult set of issues.”

A few people in the audience booed when Vilsack refused to say genetically-modified crops are bad and should be banned. Vilsack told the crowd the so-called “factory farms” they denounce are necessary to meet world food demand, “The production agriculture side, at this point in time, 75% of the food and fiber in this country is produced by those folks in that category. That’s not likely to change in the short term.”

Vilsack says the USDA might introduce livestock regulations to try to make sure small-scale pork and beef producers get a “fair shake” when it comes to the prices they’re paid for selling their livestock.

Vilsack, who served eight years as Iowa’s governor, is the first U.S. Ag Secretary to speak to the Community Food Security Coalition, holding its 13th annual convention in Des Moines this week.

Vilsack told the group that the USDA is making efforts to promote farmers markets and to encourage Americans to eat more locally-grown foods.

(Radio Iowa contributed to this report)

Comminity Food Security Coaltion website

  • It won’t matter how many favors he does for this crowd. It will never be enough and they will always find a reason to boo him. They just aren’t happy in less they are in conflict with somebody.

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