And, Vilsack said, he can use relief funds to start cultivating local food systems that help provide resiliency in a market dominated by a few big food processors.
“We can start to build that circular rural economy around resilience,” he said, drawing in institutions like schools, food banks, restaurants, growers and new regional processors. Regenerative agriculture provides crop and livestock diversity that feeds in to that circle. New jobs are created turning biomass into energy, or in smaller meat processing plants.
He sees it, again, as an issue of resilience. The big meatpackers, “if they don’t treat their workers right,” Vilsack said, can falter or fail under challenges like the Covid pandemic. The pork industry was hobbled by an ill workforce last spring, causing food prices to jump 50% almost overnight. He thinks the USDA can use markets to diversify food production with smaller processors catering to more diverse farm operations.
The opinion of a obviously very hard left leaning journalist pushing their own agenda, reads quite different from what Vilsack actually said...in my opinion.