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Secretary Vilsack discusses support for agricultural families

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OLMSTED COUNTY, Minn. (KTTC) -- It has been an incredibly tough year for everyone, including farmers. Secretary of Agriculture, and former Iowa governor, Tom Vilsack is optimistic for the upcoming season.

“I would certainly say that the increase in commodity prices we’ve seen across the board provides farmers to be a bit more optimistic about 2021 than previous years. We are seeing significantly high commodity prices at this point. We are expecting a record year of exports as well which should also be reassuring and as more and more of us get vaccinated," stated Vilsack.

Farmers on the other hand, are not feeling as hopeful as government officials say they should.

"Right now my concern is probably markets, the market availability. We are seeing with the COVID relief plans out there that people are not going back to work and it is creating quite a backlog in especially the meat processing industry right now," explained Rochester farmer Tom Pyfferoen.

It is clear Vilsack truly believes in President Biden's American Families Plan as well as the updated Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) summer program for families, including ones that operate farms.

“I think it is important to point out that farm families and families in Minnesota may very well appreciate as well the summer EBT program which is basically providing additional resources for families of children who earn free and reduced lunch status in schools," said Vilsack. "Allowing those families during the summer months to be able to be able to afford more food for their children to make sure they are well fed during the summer months as they are during the school year.”

"Most of agriculture is centered around family farms. You can talk about the corporate structure and corporate farms and that sort of thing, but you go back and look in the books and most of them are family farms,” said Pyfferoen.

Vilsack also hinted at other plans in the works to further protect farmers, but those efforts are still in the preliminary phases.

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Carli Petrus

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