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Task Force on Disruption of Supply Chains a Vehicle of Social Change?

06/11/2021

The Administration has developed a Task Force with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack as co-chair to evaluate and prevent disruption of supply chains. This initiative is consistent with the Build Back Better approach promoted in pre-election rhetoric. Part of this program will involve investment of more than $4 billion to strengthen the food system through improved production, more efficient processing and distribution and developing marketing opportunities.


Secretary USDA

In commenting on the initiative, Secretary Vilsack stated, “The COVID pandemic led to massive disruption for growers and food workers.  It exposed a food system that was rigid, consolidated and fragile.  Meanwhile those growing, processing and preparing our food are earning less each year in a system that rewards size over all else.”  Vilsack added, “The Build Back Better initiative will make meaningful investments to build a food system that is more resilient against shocks and delivers greater value to growers, workers and consumers.”

 

Areas of investment involving grants, loans and other financing will include:-

 

  • USDA will provide direct assistance, grants, training and technical guidance in food production with special emphasis on farmers and ranchers and agricultural workers who receive a diminishing share of the food dollar.

 

  • USDA will make investments to support new and expanded regional processing capacity to avert future disruptions in supply that may arise from reliance on a few extremely large packing and processing plants.

 

  • USDA will make investments in food system infrastructure including distribution and aggregation to ensure that food is available as and when it is needed.  Deficiencies were evident during COVID restrictions.

 

  • USDA will support new and expanded access to markets for a diversity of growers and will emphasize healthy foods given the relative expenditures on healthcare and food.

Sec. Vilsack picking up where he left off in 2017. Farmer explaining how high the pile of Dollars should be

It is evident that agricultural policy under the Administration will prioritize local and regional food production and establish fairer markets for producers. The Administration will focus on minor crops, fruits and vegetables, attempting to limit climate change, increase the income of veterans and traditionally disadvantaged farmers and improve the working conditions of agricultural laborers and plant employees. Clearly the vision for the USDA will to become an agent of social reform consistent with policies of the Administration. This may be to the detriment of large, integrated crop and livestock producers and supporting companies that represent the bulk of our domestic food production and agricultural exports.