In early May, USDA agency directors appeared before the Pennsylvania Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. The Committee, chaired by Pennsylvania Senator Elder Vogel, Jr., heard agency heads discuss various USDA programs. Senator Vogel recently introduced a resolution honoring the USDA on its 150th Anniversary.
Bill Wehry, State Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency, discussed the Conservation, Price Support, Disaster and Farm Loan Programs available through his agency. Denise Coleman, State Conservationist, Natural Resources Conservation Service, discussed the Working Lands for Wildlife and Water Quality Initiative, while Thomas Williams, State Director, Rural Development, discussed the various Energy and Disaster Aid Programs, Rural Business Enterprise Grant Program, and Value Added and Community Facilities Programs.
The Senator’s resolution, which was introduced and adopted on May 9, says:
Recognizing May 15, 2012, as the 150th anniversary of the creation of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and commending the employees of the USDA for their stewardship and productivity which is relied upon daily by the citizens of this Commonwealth.
WHEREAS, On May 15, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the bill that created the United States Department of Agriculture; and
WHEREAS, The original goal of the USDA was “to acquire and to diffuse among the people of the United States useful information on subjects connected with agriculture in the most general and comprehensive sense of that word, and to procure, propagate, and distribute among the people new and valuable seeds and plants”; and
WHEREAS, The mission of the USDA over the past 150 years has expanded to encompass food, agriculture, natural resources and other related policy issues while still holding true to its ideal of helping farmers achieve the best product possible with utmost ease and opportunity; and
WHEREAS, The USDA has worked to make farmers key players in the American economy, promoted greater agriculture education, boosted proper nutrition and health and instituted stronger communication between the public and private sectors in an effort to better lead a constantly evolving agriculture system; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That the Senate recognize May 15, 2012, as the 150th anniversary of the creation of the United States Department of Agriculture and commend the employees of the USDA for their stewardship and productivity which is relied upon daily by the citizens of this Commonwealth.