PALISADE, Colo. (KREX) — For the first time in more than 50 years, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture visited Mesa County.

Secretary Tom Vilsack and Senator Michael Bennet toured Talbott Farms in Palisade and then heard Colorado farmers’ concerns, who wanted to make sure their specific concerns were heard.

Of the many concerns, farmers raised the most mentioned were drought/water, and housing for workers.

“This is really frustrating to me because we have money in the department of agriculture that goes unused,” said Secretary Vilsack. He is referring to the $127 million for worker housing that is not currently being used. But Vilsack promised he would figure out how to use that money more effectively after hearing from the farmers this morning.

A few farmers I spoke to after the event said they felt heard by Secretary Vilsack and said he gave them real, tangible solutions.