Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will address rice producers, millers, merchants, and allied industry leaders during USA Rice Federation’s Government Affairs Conference general assembly Feb. 10 from 9 to 10 a.m.

The address is among Vilsack’s first public appearances since being sworn-in as secretary. “We look forward to hearing Secretary Vilsack’s outlook on farm policy as he takes over the leadership of USDA,” said Jamie Warshaw, USA Rice Federation chairman.

USA Rice Federation’s Government Affairs Conference provides rice industry members an opportunity to meet with their lawmakers to discuss key issues and priorities. With a new administration and 69 new federal lawmakers, it is an excellent opportunity to outline key rice industry priorities.

USA Rice leadership and staff members will meet with members of each rice state’s congressional delegation as well as with Obama administration officials and key staff members at various departments and agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The major issues to be discussed include implementation of the Food, Energy and Conservation Act of 2008 (the farm bill), trade priorities such as opening trade and travel with Cuba, and appropriations funding.