Secretary Vilsack on Ukraine

Dan Exports/Imports, Specialty Crops, USDA

Image by Prakasit Khuansuwan from Pixabay

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke with farm broadcasters recently, and on the topic of the war in Ukraine and its effects on agriculture, he discussed production losses.

“My concern is that we calibrate the importance of production and profit. When I say that, I mean clearly the world is going to need more production in terms of being able to make up for the production losses that are going to occur in Ukraine,” he said. “We know that under the best-case scenario, from what we know from satellite technology and so forth, a relatively small percentage of the traditional planting in Ukraine is taking place. We also know that they are stressed in terms of their access to the basics, to be able to make sure that the crop is a successful crop. And we know that there will be issues relative to where that crop goes in terms of the ports that are currently at risk.”

Ukraine is one of the world’s top agricultural producers and exporters and plays a critical role in supplying oilseeds and grains to the global market. Vilsack said the war affects countries around the world because of the lower production in Ukraine, but the U.S. may be able to help.


“The world is basically now concerned about: Are we going to have enough to be able to satisfy the need of developing countries in North Africa and [inaudible]? Countries that are themselves not particularly stable and with a lack of food could be very much unstable. So how do you make sure that American agriculture responds as it traditionally and historically it always has responded to the crisis of the day by saying ‘we are here to help’ doing that in a way that also maintains the pricing,” he said. “One of the reasons why the input costs are a concern, but they would be a greater concern if corn was three dollars a bushel instead of what it is today. So, how do you keep that in mind as you try to maintain profitability for producers, and you try to encourage more production to satisfy the humanitarian need and to do it in a way that also does right by the climate? That’s a pretty tricky balancing act.”

Sabrina Halvorson
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.

Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.