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Everybody's life has been turned upside down over the past year. Might as well become Vegans. 🥕

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Farmers and ranchers have been steadily slammed by historic wildfires, floods and hurricanes since Vilsack left the department, and agriculture leaders have recently come around to the idea that farmers should play a central role in curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

The former Iowa governor knows he’s stepping into a department and a political landscape that’s fundamentally changed since he left in 2017. Vilsack said to lawmakers during his Senate confirmation hearing last month that he realizes “this is a different time, and I am a different person, and it is a different department.”

In an interview this week, the secretary said he sees an opening for more sweeping change this time around.

“The time has come for us to transform the food system in this country in an accelerated way,” Vilsack said.

He rattled off statistics to make his case: Nearly 90 percent of U.S. farmers now rely on off-farm income to survive as a result of unsustainable economics. Roughly 60 percent of Americans have at least one chronic disease. Forty percent have two or more.

The government spends more on diabetes treatment each year — $160 billion — than USDA’s annual budget, all while knowing that poor diet is a major driver of chronic disease.

“When you look at those statistics, you have to ask yourself: Can we continue to do what we’re doing? It suggests to me that we can’t,” he said.

Vilsack is back at USDA. This time he’s under pressure on climate and racial equity. (msn.com)

 

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