Recently I had the honor to participate in the 2011 American Sheep Industry Conference.
It made me feel proud to participate as a representative of USDA, as a public servant; talking, listening and learning from sheep and goat producers as well as other stakeholders in the food, livestock and agricultural sectors.
In my keynote address, I indicated how agriculture and Rural America had influenced me, given me a work ethic, and structured my values. I emphasized that Rural America was important to me, to President Obama and to Secretary Vilsack.
USDA has worked with President Obama to turn around the country, put Americans back to work, and build a foundation for a stronger tomorrow.
At USDA, we are working to support rural communities, adding modern infrastructure and helping rural communities remain great places to live and raise a family.
The pulse at the convention was positive, full of hope and commitment to the future. I see a coordinated effort in capturing the future for the industry. I see a commitment to maintaining this way of life, this tradition, and to allow new ranchers and young people to get into the business.
I congratulate the industry on their commitment and success.