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U.S. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack visits Michigan, talks vaccines and climate-smart farming

u.s. secretary of agriculture tom vilsack talks to volunteers distributing the covid-19 vaccine at huron high school in ann arbor
Caroline Llanes
/
Michigan Radio

United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is visiting Michigan this week. His first stop was at Huron High School in Ann Arbor, where the Washtenaw County Health Department was distributing COVID-19 vaccines.

Most of the people getting the shot at the popup clinic were young people, aged 12-18. Vilsack watched as a middle-schooler got the vaccine, and commended her responsibility to her community.

Vilsack says the partnership between the Washtenaw County Health Department and Ann Arbor Public Schools is the kind of cooperation that needs to happen to get more eligible Americans vaccinated.

"I think it’s a dynamic partnership between public health officials and school officials, it encourages young people in particular, and the focus is now on trying to get youngsters ages 12-18 vaccinated. Incredibly important for the country."

On Friday, Vilsack will visit Mason and East Lansing with U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) and U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan). There, they will participate in roundtable discussions on agriculture in Michigan.

Vilsack says a big part of those conversations will be climate change and how it impacts agriculture in the coming years, and how farmers can be a part of the solution.

"The ability to use land to sequester carbon, the ability to capture methane and reuse it, the ability to convert agricultural waste into a variety of different bio-based materials creates new revenue streams for farmers and also new job opportunities for rural folks in Michigan."

Also on the agenda will be relief options for Michigan farmers who were hurt economically or had their supply chains disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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