Washington, DC - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today released the following statement after the successful conclusion of the Stakeholder Workshop on Coexistence hosted by North Carolina State University March 12 and 13, and proposed USDA actions discussed by conference participants:

"USDA recognizes that we need diversity in agriculture and supports the successful coexistence of the different forms of production. Each one contributes to the overall health of farming and rural communities throughout the United States.

"By bringing together diverse stakeholders, USDA can gather thoughtful input and feedback from all points of view and take concrete steps that in turn can help expand market opportunity at home and abroad for all kinds of American agriculture.

"When everyone can come together and share their perspectives as well as to listen to others, it can only lead to better understanding and result in positive steps forward. That's our goal, and we appreciate North Carolina State University for hosting this next step. We're looking forward to receiving additional comments from the public to help us as we continue to work to expand opportunities for all kinds of American producers at home and abroad."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture held the Stakeholder Workshop on Coexistence at North Carolina State University on March 12-13 in Raleigh, North Carolina. USDA had initially announced that public comment on the workshop and proposed USDA actions workshop participants discussed would be open until March 27, but based on feedback from workshop participants, USDA is extending the public comment period an additional two weeks. For additional information, please visit the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's website.