Miss. Senator Addresses Rising Fertilizer Costs, Expanding Forestry & Wood Products Markets at Confirmation Hearing

020221 Vilsack Hearing
VIDEO:  Hyde-Smith Questions Agriculture Secretary-nominee Tom Vilsack at Confirmation Hearing.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today voted to advance the nomination of former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to assume that same position within the Biden Administration.

Hyde-Smith serves on the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, which conducted a confirmation hearing Tuesday on the Vilsack nomination, and subsequently voted to refer the nomination to the full Senate for consideration.

“Tom Vilsack clearly understands the complexities of American agriculture, from the needs of small farming operations, to the implications of trade decisions, and its undeniable importance to the health and wellbeing of all Americans,” Hyde-Smith said.  “I’ve worked with Secretary Vilsack while I was the Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, and expect we can work well together to promote Mississippi’s agricultural and nutrition interests.”

At the confirmation hearing, Hyde-Smith addressed two current issues to Mississippi agriculture—a steep rise in fertilizer costs and expanding markets for forestry and wood products.

Hyde-Smith sought Vilsacks views on ensuring adequate supplies of fertilizer for farmers following a 25 percent price hike resulting from a petition filed last summer with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission seeking countervailing duties on phosphate fertilizer imports.

Hyde-Smith also pitched expanded markets for forestry and wood products to increase jobs in rural areas of Mississippi and other areas.

“The forest and wood products industry provides good jobs in rural areas throughout the country, including Mississippi.  In addition to providing important economic support to rural economies, working forests also provide for clean air, clean water and wildlife habitat,” Hyde-Smith said.  “Ensuring growing markets for wood products is critical for these rural economies and environmental benefits.”

As part of an expedited confirmation agreement, Vilsack agreed to testify before the committee again in the near future, at which time Hyde-Smith expects to press him on other issues related to Mississippi’s agriculture sector.

An archive of the confirmation hearing, including a copy of Vilsack’s opening statement, is available here.