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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Comes to MI

Michigan Business Network
April 30, 2024 5:00 PM

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Last week, I welcomed Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to Williamston, where we convened nearly 100 members of Michigan’s agriculture community to hear directly from the Secretary about the issues most important to Michigan agriculture.

The community in Williamston was of course affected heavily by the major storms and tornadoes that swept through Mid-Michigan last August, and it’s great to see how far the community has come thanks to the resilience of the farmers in the area and the dedicated work of emergency management workers.

It was also perfect timing, as our farmers, researchers, and agriculture leaders are currently hard at work addressing HPAI, or avian flu, which has shown up in poultry flocks and dairy farms across the state. 

Right now, the folks at Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and its Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory – the only one in Michigan that can test for HPAI – are working overtime to help test and track cases.


While the threat of HPAI to the public is very low because spread to humans is very rare, it’s still important that we stop the spread of avian flu in its tracks, so producers must remain vigilant and contact a veterinarian if they have any health concerns with their herds or flocks. For more information, check out this page, which is being updated regularly by the Department of Agriculture with new detections and up-to-date guidance.

And of course, we made sure to cover the ever-important topic of supply chains. We learned how important they are during COVID when we confronted shortages of critical goods, which is why as part of Secretary Vilsack’s visit, I focused on the need to secure our agriculture supply chains. It’s vital that we always maintain the security of our food supply and our ability to feed ourselves by ourselves.


And as the only Michigan Representative on the House Agriculture Committee, I’ll be looking at these issues and more as my colleagues and I draft the Farm Bill – a piece of legislation Congress passes every five years that sets national agriculture policy.

I’m grateful to the Secretary for coming out and to all of the Michiganders who joined us – especially as we’re right in the middle of planting season! It’s vital that federal policymakers hear directly from the folks on the ground, and that’s exactly what we did.

- Rep. Elissa Slotkin


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