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Secretary’s Column: Looking Ahead to 2013

In recent days, Congressional leaders came together with an agreement to provide middle class tax relief and extend protection for two million unemployed Americans.

This agreement provides some relief for all of us who are frustrated with the gridlock that often dominates Washington. It is also good news for the 98 percent of American families and 97 percent of small businesses who were protected from a tax increase.

At the same time, I am disappointed that Congress was unable to pass a multi-year Food, Farm and Jobs Bill. Congress did extend some 2008 Farm Bill programs that will prevent a spike in the price of dairy and other commodities. However, the extension fails to provide any of the long-term certainty that we know is vital for rural America.

At the start of this New Year, my New Year’s resolution is to redouble our efforts at USDA to achieve a strong and defensible safety net for producers in times of disaster; a comprehensive effort to build up the biobased economy; support for conservation efforts that are protecting our soil, water and forest land; increased resources for important agricultural research; and support for safer, more nutritious food for all Americans.

That’s why I will continue to work with Congress to encourage passage of a comprehensive, multi-year Food Farm and Jobs Bill. Such legislation will help us at USDA to carry out our mission, and provide more certainty for those in rural America.

Our small towns and rural communities are too important to be left out or let down.  I look forward to continuing the effort to get this important work done without further delay.

An audio version of this column will be released on tonight’s USDA Radio Newsline at 5:00 p.m. EST.

4 Responses to “Secretary’s Column: Looking Ahead to 2013”

  1. Harold Wood says:

    My middle class taxes just went up $2,000.00 for Social Security. By the time they get done eliminating all the deductions we have figured out that we will be paying an extra 5% in Federal Taxes and who knows how much in State and local Taxes will be added on.

  2. Ione Conlan says:

    Thank you Secretary Vilsack, for including our small towns and rural communities in your considerations, which in the year 2013, Valley Ford, CA, still does not have cell service towers for telephone service. When our power and telephone land lands are out of service, we have no method of calling for emergency services, yet we are only a couple of hours north of San Francisco on the coast. We appreciate your concerns for rural America. Thanks again.

  3. Dan Larsen says:

    You’re right, Harold. All we’ve heard about the last 2 weeks is passing legislation to provide middle class tax relief and then my SS taxes go up $1400- apparently SS wasn’t part of the deal and we should have been told as much!!

  4. Suane Huff says:

    I need assistance ASAP because my porch in falling in and my windows are falling out as I write this letter. I’ve already been approved for assistance but my local office says there’s no funds. Would you please help .my location is 39648, thank you.

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