Mississippi staff recently commemorated the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and its work on behalf of agriculture, rural America and people throughout the country and world who benefit from the work of the agency. Mississippi agencies USDA Rural Development (RD), National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), and Forest Service celebrated on May 15. In addition to an event at the RD state office, all the agencies area offices across the state hosted events. The event included watching the national observance from USDA headquarters in Washington, a slideshow presentation detailing history about all the agencies, agency information on display, and comments from agency heads and staff.
When President Abraham Lincoln founded the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1862, he called it “the People’s Department,” a sentiment that still rings true today as the Department’s diverse portfolio boasts strong support for American agriculture and local and regional food systems, as well as critical nutrition assistance, food safety, conservation, rural development, and research programs, among many other programs and initiatives. “USDA still continues as ‘the People’s Department’ by investing in rural America and the rural communities that millions call home and investing in community facilities and helping to ensure communities have access to critical infrastructure. Additionally through grant and loan programs for rural businesses, USDA helps to drive job growth in rural America and build thriving economies for the long term,” said Trina George, Mississippi State Director USDA Rural Development.
As the department commemorates 150 years of accomplishments, USDA is looking to the future. In the years to come, we will help address the changing needs of agriculture and rural America. “Our Department has a rich history in helping farmers, ranchers and landowners in Mississippi and across the nation,” said Al Garner, acting state conservationist of NRCS. “As we mark USDA’s 150th anniversary, it is important to reflect on what has been accomplished and to look to a viable agriculture economy in the future. NRCS works side-by-side with landowners to implement conservation practices on the ground, protecting landowners’ natural resources.”
The continued work on food, agriculture, economic development, science, natural resource conservation and many other issues will ensure USDA still fulfills Lincoln’s vision – touching the lives of every American, every day. In the past few decades, American agriculture has become one of the most productive sectors of our economy, thanks to farmers, ranchers and growers adopting technology, reducing their debt, and effectively managing risk. “USDA is adopting the same strategies. As set out in its Blueprint for Stronger Service, announced earlier this year by Secretary Vilsack, the Department is striving to build a modern and efficient service organization that is closely aligned with technological innovations and better suited to respond to 21st century agricultural needs,” said Mike Sullivan, State Executive Director, USDA Mississippi Farm Service Agency.
As we promote innovation – both here at USDA and in the countryside – we will help create jobs and support economic growth, and promote healthy families and communities, and a stronger nation. We hope you will join us in our commemoration of 150 years of USDA. It is a great time to learn about our contributions to the strength and health of this nation, and to see how we can continue to partner with Americans working to provide a better life for their families.
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