Sen. Marshall to Ag Secretary: Biden isn’t “Building Back Better” for Kansas Farmers
(Washington, D.C., May 26, 2022) – Today, U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. questioned U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary (USDA) Tom Vilsack during the secretary’s first in-person appearance in the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry. In his opening statement, Senator Marshall expressed to Secretary Vilsack that President Joe Biden’s agenda has caused and continues to cause various economic hardships for Kansas’ farmers and ranchers, saying in part,
“I’m here to fight for American agriculture, for Kansas farmers. You said in your written testimony that under President Biden’s leadership, ‘America is building back better.’ As you know, farmers and ranchers are facing record inflation. Fertilizer prices have quadrupled, the price of diesel has doubled. Farmers can’t find pesticide inputs, they can’t tractor parts. The hope for new agriculture trade deals is bleak and we do not have a USTR for agriculture nominee. The EPA continues to push non-science-based decisions that eliminate pesticide tools that help produce high yield crops. Many feel the supply chain issues and high prices have been exacerbated by President Biden’s policies. Based upon your written statement, I don’t know what producers you’ve been talking to, but they certainly are not the ones I’m talking to in Kansas.”
You may click HERE or on the image below to watch Sen. Marshall’s full exchange with Sec. Vilsack.
Having been Ag Secretary for nearly 10 years, Senator Marshall stressed to Secretary Vilsack that he should understand the importance of the crop protection product glyphosate, which is used on 40% of all U.S. farm acres. Earlier in the hearing, Secretary Vilsack indicated that he was not consulted about the Biden Administration’s position of not defending glyphosate. However, when pressed by Senator Marshall, Secretary Vilsack said he has been in contact with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding its position on glyphosate that will restrict famers’ access to the pesticide. You may click HERE to view this portion of the exchange:
Sen. Marshall: Are you pushing back [on the Biden Administration] on Glyphosate?
Sec. Vilsack: I’ve actually talked to the EPA about crop protection and encouraged the EPA to continue to follow the science. That is what American agriculture is asking us to do.
Sen. Marshall: But you just testified to Senator Grassley that you weren’t consulted but now you’re saying you’re being proactive?
Sec. Vilsack: Basically, I have talked to the EPA about crop protection activities and products, and encouraged the EPA to continue to follow the science, and encouraged them to listen to farmers and farmers concerns, and frankly they have.
- In July 2021, Senator Marshall sent a letter to EPA Assistant Administrator Dr. Michal Freehoff urging her to ensure pesticide registrations and rulemakings are based on proven science to prevent producers from being subject to unnecessary and burdensome regulations.
- In January 2022, Senator Marshall joined a group of his peers for a zoom call with EPA Administrator Michael Regan and other EPA officials to discuss the problematic direction EPA is head with decisions that restrict access to safe and necessary crop protection products.
- In February 2022, Senator Marshall co-signed a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan that called on him to redirect the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs away from their current propensity for overly precautious, blanket bans and severe restrictions of necessary crop protection tools back towards a regular, risk-based regulatory process.
- Tom Vilsack was confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture on February 23, 2021; Senator Marshall supported Secretary Vilsack’s nomination.
- Secretary Vilsack last testified before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry on February 2, 2021. His appearance was virtual.
- Secretary Vilsack previously served as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from 2009 to 2017. The last time he appeared for an in-person hearing before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry was September 16, 2016.
- Senator Marshall serves of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry and is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Conservation, Climate, Forestry, and Natural Resources.