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tv   Agriculture Secretary Departments Mission at U.S. Conference of Mayors  CSPAN  February 1, 2023 7:10am-7:28am EST

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directly to city leadership can have a monumental effect. nobody knows our communities better than us, nobody knows the needs of our communities better than us. as we proved to the federal government, we can put it to work quicker, we can change lives quicker and make our communities better quicker, if they give it to us. ladies and gentlemen, i'm so honored to be a member of both organizations and look forward to the year ahead as we continue to partner together. thank you, and enjoy the rest of the conference. >> next, agriculture secretary tom vilsack talks about the department's mission at the winter meeting in washington dc. he comments on food and
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nutrition security as well as climate change and farming. this is about 10 minutes. >> thank you very much, good morning, thanks for the opportunity to be with you this morning. i'm excited about this chance because i understand and appreciate the role mayors play on the front lines in the cities as was indicated, i served as mayor for 5 years in a small town in southeast iowa and i know you're in the front line of so many asians in one of those is food security and nutrition security. last year the white house sponsored a conference on food security and nutrition security where we talked about the importance of expanding access to healthy foods and choices. i'm here today to ask the mayors to get engaged in this effort at a higher level and to give you several things you could do in your communities that would allow us the opportunity to expand access to
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healthy choices in foods especially for your children. first and foremost we are in the process of expanding and modernizing the program that provides nutrition assistance to moms and infants under the age of 6. the sad reality of this program despite the important work it does is nearly half of those who are eligible do not participate in the program. we are calling on mayors income 3 to make a concerted effort to connect to your agency in your community and encourage moms and young children the opportunity to take advantage of the program. it can provide a wide range of assistance and help especially during a difficult time with food prices where they are today. secondly, you all have a connection with schools in your community, some of you may even be in charge of operating your schools and the chances are you
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may not necessarily be in a state that has seen the light of universal free meals for children in schools across your city. so that if you are the mayor and are in a position to talk to school officials, encourage them to look at community eligibility, community eligibility is a process we have at usta in which you have a high percentage of free and reduced lunch kids, to waive the requirements of applications, having parents fill out forms to qualify their children and essentially provide in that school district access to universal free meals for all the children. from the pandemic experience, we saw a significant increase in utilization of the school meal program during the pandemic. this is an opportunity to expand the use of that program. we are also going to be in the process of continuing to upgrade the nutritional quality of those meals, we would appreciate the assistance of mayors across the country in
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encouraging school districts to embrace the nutrition standards to ensure that our kids get the best opportunities and best meals possible, we know there's a connection between quality meals in schools and quality learning. finally the snap program, is one that you're familiar with, supplemental nutrition assistance program, you may not be aware that 80% of those folks on snap are senior citizens living on fixed incomes, they may be working moms and dads or people with disabilities. sometimes there is this notion there are a lot of folks out there that are taking advantage of the program. the reality is there is a work and training requirement for able-bodied adults who do not have children and are in a position to work. understanding and preceding the reach of this program, making sure you are senior citizens understand and appreciate the opportunity to take advantage of this program we could see an expansion of that effort as well. three steps you can take, the
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school nutrition program the snap program, to create greater access and greater affordability for food in your communities. take the last several minutes of my time today to talk about what to do about of agriculture is doing in transforming our agricultural and food system in this country, for 50 years we've been focused at the department of agriculture on increasing productivity. it was all about - the former secretary of agriculture once encouraged folks to do, the reality is that has caused our food system to become quite consolidated. this year we have enjoyed in 2022 a record income year but sadly more than 50% of our farmers had negative farm income. they didn't make money farming so they had to have another income to keep the farm which we are in the process of beginning to expand the number of revenue sources and income
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opportunities to create greater resilience, greater sustainability in the system. this is where cities come into play. we are encouraging more urban agriculture, every single year that a part of agriculture provides millions of dollars in grants for planning and limitation of programs that encourage urban agriculture, we are also encouraging innovation in agriculture in urban settings with vertical and indoor agriculture would encourage you to look at the opportunities that about of agriculture provides to embrace it. we are looking at ways in which we can expand processing capacity. we know it has been too concentrated in this country which limits the ability of farmers but also is an opportunity as we look for ways to expand processing and job creation, no reason these processing facilities can't -- in cities across the united states, just recently we
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awarded a significant grant of millions of dollars to international foods located in cleveland. this is a facility that processes poultry for school feeding programs. this is an opportunity for this particular business to create 220 jobs in the cleveland area which will pay 22 an hour in wages so it is an opportunity to understand and appreciate there are grant opportunities at usta that will be forthcoming in 2,023. cities out to be encouraging participation to expand opportunity for processing. by expanding processing capacity we give more markets to farmers, create a bit of competition for what they grow and do farm income. we are heavily engaged in the climate smart effort. we have 141 projects across the united states where we are now essentially investing $3 billion over the next 3 to 5 years, encouraging farmers to embrace climate smart
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agricultural practices. these are unique partnerships, partnerships between farmers and universities, minority serving institutions, food companies, retailers, major farm groups, conservation groups that i am environmental groups, the reality is these programs and these opportunities farmers are going to embrace will reduce significantly greenhouse gas emissions connected to farming, they will sequester more carbon. what does that do? it creates an opportunity for businesses in your cities that may need offsets to work closely and collaboratively with american agriculture to utilize the benefits and results of climate smart practices in reducing their carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions to connected to whatever industry or business, making them healthier and more sustainable. it is also an opportunity as well to convert agricultural waste to a wide variety of new products in a bio-based economy. the reality is we need a
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significant amount of new biofuel. i get electric cars, totally understand it. the battery wears out, you pull to the side of the road and use your cell phone and call for help but if you are in a plane and the battery wears out, how does that work? the airline industry understands and appreciates as it transitions to hydrogen fuel cells and longer-lasting batteries it is going to need a sustainable aviation fuel for the foreseeable future. this is a whole new industry in which agricultural waste and woody biomass can be converted into a fuel that allows our airlines to be competitive and sustainable at the same time. there's an opportunity as well for mayors to encourage the developers of local and regional food systems, the chance for you to marry the opportunity of what farmers do around your city, to marry it with what schools need in terms
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of affordable, nutritious foods, we have millions of dollars in grants for local and regional food promotion and market development. i am encouraging you to think about the opportunities agriculture can present to cities all across this country, large and small. when i was mayor of a county seat town i had a response villainy not just in my community but smaller communities surrounding me. i understood there were people that didn't necessarily want to live in my city but certainly wanted to work there. it was encouraging for me to work with mayors of other small towns to make sure they could provide the quality of life and opportunity that was necessary for us to have a vibrant regional economy. very few people realize the department of agriculture is in the business of financing and helping to build schools, hospitals, libraries, a wide variety of community facilities. we have a very aggressive
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community facility alone program, wastewater treatment program, a very aggressive business and industry development program and housing program. if usda or a bank, based on the number of loans in our portfolio, we would be in the top 15 banks, loan portfolios one hundred $50 billion, we provide long-term financing for infrastructure for smaller populated communities. if you can get a 40 year loan with a fixed rate in today's world, that is an opportunity so i would encourage you as you look at your relationships with communities around you and the responsibility to have as a major city, perhaps, in your region, working with other local mayors to encourage them to understand and appreciate the opportunities at the department of agriculture. hopefully as a result of this
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brief visit i have piqued your interest in what happens at the department of agriculture. in a sense, when people ask which job i enjoyed better as mayor, state senator, governor, or secretary, i say being secretary of agriculture is like being mayor of lots of cities because we do everything you do. it is like being governor of 50 states. because we do everything that a governor does. it is encouraging you to understand the full scope and range of activity and take advantage of our programs, we have folks located in each of these states you are located that can help you and assist you in developing better nutrition and food security for your children, better opportunities for economic opportunity in the region and embracing this notion of the new agriculture being developed at usta. i want to thank you for the opportunity and hope you have a fruitful conference.
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>> george santos has decided to temporarily step down from his committee assignments. informed house republicans colleagues at a party conference meeting, the house gop steering committee had signed representative santos to the small business, science, space, and technology committees. republican representative a least a phonic of new york and pete aguilar and ted lewis spoke about the decision shortly after it was announced. >> like all of my colleagues, particularly in new york state, i supported george santos as the nominee and the people of his district voted to elect him. we got out of congress and george has voluntarily removed himself from committees as he goes through this process but ultimately voters decide. i'm very proud that in new york
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state we flipped 5 districts to help deliver us the majority and voters made this decision, who they elect to congress. this process is going to play itself out. i commented on this numerous times. will play itself out. ultimately voters will make that decision, whether it is in the primary election or the general election. thank you. >> i'm just struck by the chaos, confusion, dysfunction of the republican conference, they defended putting him on committees and now they are announcing that he's not going to serve on a committee. i don't understand what the play of the day is. we have said from the very beginning that george santos is not fit to serve on any committees. republicans defended him initially, as they announced his committee appointments so please that they agree with us now, just don't know if we can trust them or if this is just
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the decision of the week or if this is the final decision, but clearly george santos has some issues and concerns, this is likely the outcome of his meeting with the speaker. it is unfortunate when republicans are put in a position to defend someone who only has a passing relationship with the truth and we will see what the message is related to mr. santos for next week. >> i also urge george santos to listen to his republican and democratic constituents. >> representative santos was confronted by reporters outside his office shortly after announcing plans to step down from his committee assignments and responded to questions about the ongoing investigations into his finances.
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>> how can you effectively do your job? how can you effectively -- >> i haven't been in touch with my campaign staff. i been focusing on the work there. i don't have an answer for you now. >> you are confident? >> yes. >> i'm confident. i have nothing to hide. >> questions about your past? your financing? >> questions will be answered to the appropriate people. the media is not judge and jury of anything. >> you are under investigation. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. funded by these television
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companies and more including wow. >> the world has changed, fast, reliable internet connection is something no one can live without so wow is there, speed, reliability, value, and choice. now more than ever it starts with great internet. wow. >> wow support-span as a public service along with other television providers giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> a discussion on religious freedom and foreign policy with representative michael mccaul and jim mcgovern of massachusetts. this from a summit in washington dc that featured remarks from sam brownback who served as ambassador at large for religious freedom during the trump administration. this is 40 minutes.


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