United States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke about President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address and food production concerns in Ukraine during a recent USDA Radio broadcast. 

State of the Union

Biden addressed multiple issues regarding rural regions and farmers and the meat processing industry. He highlighted sections of the recent bipartisan infrastructure law that will “provide affordable high-speed internet for every American in rural and tribal communities,” Biden said. 

The bill also intends to repair 65,000 miles of highway which will have a positive impact on the production to consumer process. 

“Investing in small businesses, keeping them going, keeping their employees in jobs, the important role that rebuilding the infrastructure of this country will play, improving transportation systems, strengthening supply chains. It’s going to allow us to get product to market – product to consumers – more easily, more quickly with greater supply which will over time lower costs,” said Vilsack. 

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Biden again discussed the issue of meat inflation and the lack of competition in the meat processing sector. In some regions, there are only a couple of meat processing companies to sell to, which creates a bottleneck between the producers and the consumers. So, livestock producers sell their product to processors at low prices while consumers pay high prices, according to the president.

“Capitalism without competition is exploitation,” said Biden.  

Ukraine

Vilsack also discussed what could be a future problem for Ukrainian food production and transportation. Ukraine exports into multiple developing countries including regions in North Africa and the Middle East, Lebanon, Yemen, Egypt and Sudan.

The question remains that if these exports are disrupted in the future, will the U.S. need to step in to provide “international aid and export programs,” the USDA stated.