Chairwoman Stabenow Opening Statement at Hearing on Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Nominee Jennifer Moffitt
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today released the following opening statement at the hearing to consider the nomination of Jennifer L. Moffitt to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. Live video of the hearing is available here.
Stabenow’s statement, as prepared for delivery, follows:
Good morning and welcome to this hearing to review the nomination of Jenny Moffitt to serve as Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It’s a role that oversees the important work of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Agricultural Marketing Service. Welcome to you, Ms. Moffitt, and congratulations on your nomination. As a Californian, you have the unique distinction of being from the only state with a greater diversity of crops than my home state of Michigan!
That experience will serve you well, if confirmed, because the mission area you will oversee plays a critical role for producers in both of our states and the food supply chain nationwide. The dual threats of the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis have placed historic strains on our food supply chain and on the farm families who power it. The Marketing and Regulatory Programs mission area is uniquely positioned to meet those challenges and help our farm families and food businesses along the supply chain recover and thrive well into the future.
If confirmed, you will wear many hats. You will be responsible for protecting against animal and plant diseases, ensuring competition in the livestock sector, supporting the marketing of milk, and helping to build markets and demand for U.S. grown food both at home and abroad. The work of this mission area is critical to helping farmers and ranchers expand their options, create new sources of revenue, and promote their products. You’ll work with the National Organic Standards Board to protect and improve organic standards and help farmers tap into new markets, particularly in vibrant local and regional food systems like the ones in my home state of Michigan and your home state of California. Both our states are working to boost the demand for locally grown and locally produced food, and I hope you will commit to continuing to support our growing local food economy.
You will work closely with our fruit and vegetable and tree nut producers, who face challenges ranging from trade to labor to marketing, while also confronting the significant impacts of a changing climate. While specialty crop producers do not receive more traditional farm support, your agency will play a key role in the programs that support marketing, research and other critical investments that help this industry flourish. And that is important to me because they help keep healthy food on our families’ tables.
You’ll oversee the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, our front-line defense against some of the most pressing threats to animal and plant health, including the many pests and diseases that are more common now because of drought and other climate-related issues. All of these matters play an important role in not only helping farm families recover from supply chain disruptions and respond to climate change, but helping USDA better serve all Americans. I look forward to hearing more during our conversation today on how you plan to do that.
And I look forward to working together to accomplish those goals if you’re confirmed for this important job. You have a broad range of support from farm and food groups and other stakeholders as well. I ask unanimous consent that such letters be entered into the record. With that, I’ll turn to my colleague and Ranking Member Senator Boozman for any opening comments he’d like to make.