Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack presents USDA's Blueprint for Stronger Service, a plan to Increase Efficiency in USDA Operations, on Monday, January 9, 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii. USDA Photo by Rebecca Moat.
Today at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 93rd Annual Meeting, I thanked about 10,000 farmers for helping to make U.S. agriculture a bright spot in our nation’s economy.
In the past few decades, U.S. agriculture has become the second most productive sector of the American economy, thanks to farmers adopting technology, reducing debt, and effectively managing risk. In 2011, America’s farmers, ranchers and producers achieved record farm income, record exports, and have helped to contribute to an unemployment figure in rural America that has fallen faster than in other parts of the country. Over the last three years, as USDA has made significant investments in rural America, we have also looked closely at the way we do business so that we are sustaining and enhancing the farm economy for generations to come. That is why today I introduced USDA’s Blueprint for Stronger Service—a plan that will help to preserve this success in the long term.
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A special Earth Team volunteer group was recently formed to benefit Ross Barnett Reservoir, in central Mississippi. Keep the Rez Beautiful was created by an NRCS employee in late 2010 to promote conservation and water quality in the reservoir.
Earth Team is the volunteer workforce for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Earth Team volunteers help get conservation on the ground on private lands across the nation, and the Ross Barnett Reservoir group will help further NRCS’ work in this critical waterway. Read more »
Beaver dams like this one help to create wetlands. FWS photo.
The Forest Service is known for developing partnerships to get the greatest good out of scarce fiscal resources. On the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest one of the partners is four-legged. Read more »
Sara Roy and her son, Malachi, enjoy working together in the garden.
The Foreign Agricultural Service office in San Jose broke ground on its own People’s Garden in Fall 2009. Ever since that day our embassy employees and their families, as well as members of the local community, have learned about the benefits of eating fresh, healthy foods. Read more »
As we begin the year, I want to share with you a few numbers that help measure USDA’s impact for America’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities over the past three years:
- To help keep American agriculture profitable and keep farmers on the farm, USDA maintained a strong safety net. Over the past three years, our crop insurance program has paid out about $16.2 billion to more than 325,000 farmers who lost crops to natural disasters. Other programs have provided nearly $3.5 billion in aid to help more than 250,000 farmers and ranchers recover from natural disasters. Read more »
Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse, tours the Hom Wet Market in Hanoi, Vietnam with Foreign Agricultural Service Acting Administrator Sue Heinen (center) and USDA’s Agricultural Counselor to Vietnam Jeanne Bailey (right). There, they were able to see some Vietnam’s local produce including rambutan and dragon fruit. This was one of many stops on the first-ever USDA agricultural trade mission to Vietnam, which Scuse led in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City Sep. 25-20, 2011 Photo By Le Nguyen-Binh
Under the Obama Administration, USDA has continued to expand markets for American goods abroad, worked aggressively to break down barriers to trade, and assisted U.S. businesses with the resources needed to reach consumers around the world. And by organizing and executing agricultural trade missions, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is helping U.S. businesses reach the 95-percent of consumers who live outside the United States. Read more »