In response to President-elect Joe Biden’s planned nomination of former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack as agriculture secretary, a role he held for eight years during the Obama administration, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers President and CEO Land Tawney issued the following statement:
“American hunters and anglers are keenly aware of the Department of Agriculture’s crucial role in upholding our outdoor traditions, including overseeing the U.S. Forest Service in addition to facilitating public access opportunities and promoting healthy habitat on privately owned lands.
“During his time leading the Agriculture Department under the Obama administration, former Secretary Vilsack demonstrated that he possesses a deep understanding of what matters – in short, abundant public access, vital fish and wildlife habitat, greater certainty for our nation’s farmers and ranchers – and the need to balance these values with resource development to ensure that special places like the Tongass National Forest and Minnesota’s Boundary Waters are not compromised.
“We welcome the opportunity to work once again with Mr. Vilsack, and we look forward to helping him forge collaborative approaches to resolving the challenges facing critical lands and waters in the United States.”
The Agriculture Department is responsible for managing 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands. These public lands encompass a wealth of hunting and fishing opportunities, support robust game populations and sustain coldwater fisheries. USDA also administers critical funding mechanisms like the Farm Bill, which incentivizes private lands conservation through programs like the Conservation Reserve Program and public access through Open Fields. Another fundamental part of USDA, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, helps farmers and ranchers implement conservation strategies that benefit fish and wildlife on both private and public landscapes.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the voice
for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.