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Vilsack to Make First Official Visit to Puerto Rico
USAgNet - 05/31/2016

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will make his first official visit to Puerto Rico where he will highlight the USDA's commitment to addressing food security and rural opportunity in the Commonwealth. While in Puerto Rico, Secretary Vilsack will meet with various officials from the Commonwealth; visit a National Forest research station; engage local farmers and ranchers; convene a group of financial leaders focused on finding opportunities for rural investment; and make several important announcements to address food security and rural development.

While in Puerto Rico, Vilsack will meet with staff from seven USDA agencies working in the Commonwealth: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS); Agricultural Research Service (ARS); Farm Service Agency (FSA); Food and Nutrition Service (FNS); U.S. Forest Service; Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); and USDA Rural Development.

On Wednesday, he will meet with Governor Alejandro García Padilla, Senate Majority Leader Eduardo Bhatia, and Speaker of the House of Representatives Jaime R. Perelló Borrás. Later that day he will tour the U.S. Forest Service Sabana Field Research Station and El Yunque National Forest to highlight USDA's key research initiatives in the Caribbean Climate Sub Hub. USDA has established a network of seven regional Climate Hubs and three Sub Hubs to support applied research and provide information to farmers, ranchers, advisors, and managers to inform climate-related decision making and region-specific adaptation strategies.

Meanwhile, he will highlight Puerto Rico's amazing growth potential and announce a series of additional federal investments in Puerto Rico's future. The day will begin with a meeting of farmers, ranchers, producers and agriculture-related businesspeople to gauge the needs and opportunities of Puerto Rico's agricultural sector. Secretary Vilsack will then convene a meeting with a dozen investors, financial leaders, economists and entrepreneurs to discuss rural economic opportunity and the potential to leverage public and private resources in a more integrated and coordinated way in the Commonwealth to create a brighter future for its residents.

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