It is my pleasure to be in China, leading USDA’s largest-ever agricultural trade mission in the cities of Chengdu and Shanghai from March 23-28.
Left to right: Former Deputy Commissioner of Commerce for China Mr. Zhang Zhi Gang, Former Deputy Commissioner of Commerce for China He Ji Hai, Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse, Former Deputy Commissioner of Commerce for China He Hua Zhangand at the opening of Tang Jiu Hui Trade Show in Chengdu. Scuse is currently leading USDA’s largest-ever trade mission delegation in China. Photo Credit: Kirsten Allen
I am joined by 39 U.S. businesses representing a wide variety of products, including fresh and frozen produce, dairy, wine, consumer-oriented products, forestry products, and more. Representatives from six state departments of agriculture are also participating, including Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey, Oklahoma Agriculture Secretary Jim Reese, and representatives from North Carolina, Illinois, Kansas, and South Dakota. Read more »
The devastation in Joplin is unbelievable, heartbreaking and hard to describe. I have never seen anything like it and hope to never again. The twister tore a path a mile wide and six miles long through the main part of town. It impacted hundreds of businesses and destroyed over 2,000 homes. More than 120 people lost their lives and over 800 people were injured. Scores remain missing or unaccounted for. Read more »
Last week, I was honored to travel home to Delaware to address the importance of the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI). As a proud former agriculture secretary for this great state, I know well that for thousands of Delawareans, agriculture is not only a livelihood, but also a way of life.
Delaware boasts nearly 2,500 farms covering almost a half-million acres of land. In 2009 those farms generated more than $1 billion in cash receipts and exported $240 million in agricultural goods. Approximately half of the export value came from poultry, making Delaware the United States’ 12th-largest poultry exporter. Read more »
In the two years that President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack have been in office, those involved in production agriculture have participated in driving a sustained economic recovery. That’s the message I delivered earlier this week to farmers, extension staff, local business leaders and government officials during a speech at Alcorn State University in Mississippi. I was honored to be asked to address those in attendance at the 20th annual Small Farmers Conference at Alcorn State. The theme is “Sowing the Seeds of Opportunity for a Bountiful Harvest.” Read more »
The African ministers of commerce, trade, and agriculture on the trading floor of the Kansas City Board of Trade.
One of the most interesting aspects of my job is meeting interesting people from all parts of the world. Last week I only had to travel as far as Kansas City to meet nearly two dozen African ministers of trade, commerce, and agriculture for a visit to the Kansas City Board of Trade as part of the African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum.
As agriculture plays a key role in African development, governments have a crucial role to play in ensuring a favorable market climate for their farmers and agricultural products. The ministers learned about the Board of Trade’s day-to-day exchange operations, where hard red winter wheat is bought and sold in the futures market. We took a tour of the trading floor to see traders in action and also met with researchers at some of America’s premier land grant universities to learn how they provide farmers and USDA with valuable research and new technologies. Read more »
African ministers and entrepreneurs listen to translation as Under Secretary Jim Miller speaks about investing in the agricultural value chain.
Last week I was in Kansas City to participate in the 9th African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) forum. AGOA seeks to strengthen the trade relationship between the United States and Africa by reducing tariffs on thousands of African products and providing technical assistance to boost African exports while stimulating economic growth and investment. Each year, the AGOA forum alternates between Washington, D.C. and an African country host. To celebrate AGOA’s tenth year, we decided to do something new, hosting the first half of the forum in Washington, DC and the second portion in Kansas City. Read more »