U.S. Ag Sec to make 1st official visit to P.R. next week

Written by  //  May 27, 2016  //  In-Brief  //  No comments

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack (Credit: Wikipedia.org)

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack (Credit: Wikipedia.org)

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will make his first official visit to Puerto Rico starting next Tuesday, when he will highlight the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ongoing commitment to addressing food security and rural opportunity in the Commonwealth.

While in Puerto Rico, Vilsack will meet with various officials from the Commonwealth; visit a National Forest research station; engage local farmers and ranchers; convene a group of financial leaders focused on finding opportunities for rural investment; and make several important announcements to address food security and rural development.

While in Puerto Rico, Vilsack will meet with staff from seven USDA agencies working in the Commonwealth: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS); Agricultural Research Service (ARS); Farm Service Agency (FSA); Food and Nutrition Service (FNS); U.S. Forest Service; Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); and USDA Rural Development. Since 2009, USDA has invested more than $20 billion in Puerto Rico across various programs, including nutrition, infrastructure, housing, farming and ranching, conservation and forestry, and research.

On Wednesday, Vilsack will meet with Gov. Alejandro García-Padilla, Senate Majority Leader Eduardo Bhatia, and Speaker of the House of Representatives Jaime R. Perelló Borrás.

On Thursday, Vilsack will highlight Puerto Rico’s amazing growth potential and announce a series of additional federal investments in Puerto Rico’s future. The day will begin with a meeting of farmers, ranchers, producers and agriculture-related business people to gauge the needs and opportunities of Puerto Rico’s agricultural sector.

The government official will then convene a meeting with a dozen investors, financial leaders, economists and entrepreneurs to discuss rural economic opportunity and the potential to leverage public and private resources in a more integrated and coordinated way in the Commonwealth to create a brighter future for its residents.

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