This week I joined Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on a tour of North Carolina and Virginia to assess areas damaged by Hurricane Irene and to discuss ways USDA can help residents recover.
Secretary Napolitano and I had the opportunity to see farmland devastated by the hurricane as well as speak with first responders, local officials, and residents about recovery efforts. It was encouraging to see communities pulling together to recover from these devastating circumstances.
My heart goes out to those who have suffered losses caused by Hurricane Irene and the USDA is ready to deploy personnel and resources to assist the efforts by federal, state and local authorities as soon as possible. We are coordinating with various people in those devastated areas to adequately meet the long-term needs of those affected.
Our farmers, ranchers, and rural communities are resilient and I have no doubt they will overcome the challenges presented by this storm. USDA will continue to be a strong partner in this effort.