Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Secretary’s Column: Lessons from the Farm to Strengthen America

A week ago, President Obama released the American Jobs Act, a specific plan to jumpstart our economy and put Americans to work today.  It contains ideas that both parties in Washington have supported.  And yesterday, he laid out a plan that will pay for it – and for other long-term investments we need to stay competitive – while reducing our deficits.

The plan takes a balanced approach.  It looks for savings across government.  And it asks everyone to do their part and pay their fair share so we can live within our means.

For agriculture, the plan focuses on what the President and I believe is one of the most pressing challenges facing producers right now: maintaining a strong safety net and disaster assistance programs that will work for all farmers and ranchers, no matter what they produce or where they produce it.

The plan will extend our disaster assistance programs, which are currently set to run out of funding on October 1.  We will pay for the extension by making modest reductions to the subsidies that crop insurance companies receive.  Without the President’s plan, producers will lose the added protection our disaster programs offer.

These aren’t easy changes, but they will help us maintain a strong safety net in the long term so that farmers knocked down by natural disaster can get their operations back on track.  After witnessing flood, drought, hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires this year, I am even more certain of the importance of this component of the safety net.

Farmers and ranchers know that to succeed they must work hard and invest wisely.  But they also understand the importance of living within their means.  Following the farm crisis of the 1980s, they have taken steps to reduce their debt, and have thrived in recent years.

The President’s plan takes a page out of their playbook.  The American Jobs Act will put people back to work now while building a strong foundation for sustained economic growth.  We just need folks in Washington D.C. to come together and get it done.

At the same time, the President is making the tough calls and tough choices we need to get our fiscal house in order.  All of this will help create jobs, promote growth, and help build a stronger middle class.

You can find the audio version of the weekly message here.

6 Responses to “Secretary’s Column: Lessons from the Farm to Strengthen America”

  1. Eric Pool says:

    the behaviors you provide incentives for do not benefit the public at large but certain corporate powers. A prime example would be insuring re-planting. Instead of waiting until the time is right to plant, a farmer plants knowing he has “insurance” and when the crop doesn’t emerge, more seed and chemicals get sold.
    Food is about providing for our health, but the current “food” we grow doesn’t provide for the public’s health as much as it provides economic benefits for the giant corporate agricultural complex.
    A small farmer who might grow health food can be overwhelmed by the regulatory burdens and has to operate outside the law when they can’t afford to understand and comply with all the regulations placed on them by ignorant bureaucrats.

  2. J.S. says:

    I love Barack’s Rural Development ideas.

  3. Chris McKellar says:

    Eric Pool hit it right on.

  4. Melody says:

    Mr. Secretary:
    I hope you and the President realize that you will never be able to please everyone, regardless of what you do. That is our reality. Just continue to work towards returning our country to its former glory by putting our fiscal house in order. It can be done and it will be done because we stand united as a Nation. Always know that you have the support of the American People behind you.

  5. Pamela says:

    When thinking of farm bill policy, let’s move away from the concept that America must feed the world and focus on feeding our communities. If our communities are fed, we won’t need to worry about the rest of the world. Most of the farmers and farmland in America is used not for producing meats, fruits and vegetables, but for producing grains that go to prop up the processed food industry or shipped overseas to feed the Chinese livestock. I would like to see farmers given incentives to move away from the corn, wheat, soybean merry-go-round and produce foods that we really eat or really should eat.

  6. Yeh! Right! This is absolute nonsense

Leave a Reply