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Secretary Vilsack Meets Farmers, Tours Biofuel Facility and Discusses Recovery Act Business Support During Pennsylvania Visit

Friday, a beautiful spring day in Pennsylvania, it was my pleasure to welcome Secretary Vilsack and his wife Christy to Pennsylvania for a tour and rural discussion. We started the day at Middletown Biofuels for a facility tour along with Congressman Tim Holden and other local and state officials. Middletown Biofuels recently received over $17,000 from USDA for producing biodiesel fuel from soybean oil. The facility is located in the heart of Pennsylvania’s agricultural industry, providing ready access to soybean and other vegetable oil feedstocks.  We then traveled to the state capitol in Harrisburg where the Secretary announced that in Pennsylvania, the Recovery Act has guaranteed $35.6 million in business loans that are expected to save or create more than 450 jobs. In total, USDA has provided loan guarantees to 350 U.S. businesses in the last seven months that will create or save nearly 23,500 jobs.

Following the announcement at the capitol, we traveled across the state to a picturesque dairy farm in Bedford County known as Singing Brook Farm where Secretary Vilsack and the Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding led a rural discussion with a crowd nearing 80 local farmers and rural leaders.  Secretary Vilsack spoke candidly with the crowd, commenting that “The toughest job in the world is being a farmer,” and “Rural America is where our value system is rooted.”

On Saturday, Secretary Vilsack and his wife toured the Greater Area Pittsburgh Food Bank and helped unload donations delivered from local United States Postal Service employees. The Secretary later spoke at a dinner hosted by the Pittsburgh Project, a nonprofit community development organization with a 25-year track record of developing leaders and serving the city’s most vulnerable residents while also spearheading economic development and job training efforts in downtown Pittsburgh.

Secretary Vilsack at a Pennsylvania dairy farm during a meeting with area farmers.  Russell Redding, the Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture, is seated, left. Secretary Vilsack at a Pennsylvania dairy farm during a meeting with area farmers.  Russell Redding, the Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture, is seated, left.

The Secretary visits a food bank in Pittsburgh, where local postal workers have delivered donated food.  Secretary Vilsack and Mrs. Vilsack visit a food bank in Pittsburgh, where local postal workers have delivered donated food.

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