"Censky played a major role in last year’s passage of the first federal law to mandate labels for foods that contain genetically modified organisms, or GMOs — a controversial and wide-ranging initiative that affects soybean farmers, grocery stores and food companies from Kraft to General Mills," Maya Rao reports for the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. "The federal law invalidated a GMO labeling law in Vermont that agricultural and food interests opposed over concerns that different standards in just one state would lead to higher costs for national companies."
In his testimony before the Senate Agriculture Committee at his confirmation hearing, Censky said there were three specific goals he wants to work on during his tenure:
- Diversification of markets: This includes expanding foreign trade and promoting local and regional food markets for farmers and consumers alike. In addition, diversification of crops through research, Extension and crop insurance coverage.
- Preparation for and adaption to changing weather and climate: Our agricultural production systems and forests truly are on the front line of impact by changes in weather and climate. I believe USDA has an inherent responsibility to help our farmers, ranchers and forests become more resilient. USDA’s research, conservation, forestry, extension, crop insurance and other programs all have major roles to play.
- Expansion of broadband to rural America. Broadband technology can be transformative for agricultural producers and rural communities. From precision agriculture that allows producers to farm more sustainably to promoting rural development and jobs, America’s rural areas truly need broadband technology. USDA has a unique role to play within the administration and through its own programs.