Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack made only his second in-person appearance at a large agricultural event since taking office last year when he addressed the 2022 Commodity Classic in New Orleans Friday and thousands of corn, sorghum, soybean, and wheat farmers.
He talked about the situation in Ukraine and being able to hear from the agriculture minister from that country who was speaking to them from a bunker. “As I listened to him, it impressed upon me the importance of all of us who live in a free and democratic country never to take that privilege for granted,” Vilsack said to applause.
The secretary got a standing ovation when he talked about the role biofuels can play in lowering record high fuel costs. “We know and I know and you know that E15 can do that and B20 can do that,” he said.
During his press conference, Vilsack had little else to add when asked about what can be done to increase the use of higher ethanol blends to offset higher gas prices. “You can expect announcements of increased use in the sense that we are putting $100 million of USDA resources out to expand the resources to make E15 more available,” said Vilsack, adding that he could not speak for other federal agencies, meaning that USDA is not able to make any decisions regarding retail sales of E15 in the summer months. “It’s clear from the marketplace that there is a price differential (between ethanol and gas) and we would obviously support whatever steps are necessary.”Secretary Vilsack remarks (32:11)
Vilsack press conference (24:24)