Vilsack Offers Penance for “4H-Gate”

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack appeared on Agritalk Radio yesterday to share his thoughts about the 2012 Farm Bill.

Among other ag-related subjects, AgriTalk host Mike Adams asked Vilsack about a blunder at the recent 4H national conference that involved USDA decision-makers allowing HSUS to present its animal rights material to youngsters in attendance.

Adams asked Vilsack if he personally knew about the decision and whether he agreed with it. Here’s how he responded:

Well, I was not aware specifically of that decision, but it does point out the fact that we probably do not have and did not have adequate oversight, and we’ve obviously got to take full responsibility for that. That’s one of the reasons why we’re conducting a review of the process.

I think you’ll see two important changes. First, 4H national headquarters will screen all handout materials to be brought to conferences by workshop presenters to make sure they’re relevant to the conference theme and to the young people who are attending. Secondly, workshop proposals will undergo a review by a panel of USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture national program leaders—subject experts—to make sure the content is accurate and credible for young people. So we’re going to conduct better oversight here at the national office.

Sounds to us like HSUS will be PETA non grata at next year’s 4H conference.

You can listen to the whole Vilsack interview here (it’s about 12 minutes long).