Secretary Vilsack Talks Ag Trade and Conservation at USA Rice Conference

Feb 25, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC --  Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack took to the stage at USA Rice Federation's Government Affairs Conference yesterday to praise and congratulate the whole ag sector for five consecutive years of growth, and the rice industry in particular for their commitment to conservation.

"Thank you for your great understanding of conservation values," he said while discussing the groundbreaking Regional Conservation Partnership Program.

Vilsack went on to talk extensively about trade issues, including the ongoing Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.

"We know market access is important to you and understand the critical importance of a country like Japan," he said.  "But the [TPP] has to be a good deal."

Vilsack shared his concern that if the TPP deal is not successful, China will attempt to step into the void with an all-Asia trade pact that could greatly change the dynamic of the region and global rice trade.

Vilsack took questions from the audience about the new definition of actively engaged, the Conservation Stewardship Partnership program, and other issues.

"We were thrilled the Secretary took time to speak to us and share his thoughts on our priority issues," said Betsy Ward, USA Rice's President & CEO.  "It was encouraging to hear we are on the same page on issues like expanding market access and opportunities in Cuba and Iraq, and with supporting Trade Promotion Authority."

Contact:  Michael Klein (703) 236-1458