Vilsack on USDA staff and research shortages

President Biden’s proposed federal budget includes an increase for the USDA and Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the agency needs it.

“We’re adjusting to the fact that for many years we probably didn’t receive a significant increase, in fact, we probably saw a cut. And, that has reflected itself significantly, I think, in the number of people working at USDA.”

Vilsack recently told lawmakers at an appropriations hearing that some staff members are working two and three jobs at USDA because of shortages.

He says the 14% proposed budget increase would also inject more funds into much-needed ag research.

“We have got to invest more in our research on agriculture if we’re going to be able to adapt and mitigate to a changing climate and all the issues we talked about here. Our budget includes additional resources and the president’s American Jobs Plan involves additional resources.”

Vilsack says when people say they want things done quickly at USDA, the staff shortages can prevent that from happening.

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