Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Posts tagged: Jim Miller

USDA 2012 Agricultural Outlook Forum’s Twenty-Five Breakout Sessions Begin February 23

Following a morning plenary session featuring eight former Secretaries of Agriculture and Secretary Vilsack’s keynote speech, the USDA’s annual Outlook Forum will begin the programs breakout sessions featuring more than 80 speakers.  The sessions will focus on a broad range of topical issues related to agriculture and global food security; foreign trade, financial markets, and economic development; conservation; energy; climate change; food safety; food hubs; extension programs; and next generation farmers. Read more »

Foreign Agricultural Service Opens New Office in Shenyang, China

American and Chinese officials celebrate the opening of the U.S. Agricultural Trade Office in Shenyang, China, September 17.

American and Chinese officials celebrate the opening of the U.S. Agricultural Trade Office in Shenyang, China, September 17.

I was delighted to be in China last week to officially open USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service’s new Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) in Shenyang. This new office will serve as a bridge between American and Chinese businesses, opening opportunities for trade and collaboration between our two nations. Read more »

Kansas City Board of Trade Offers Examples for African Ministers

The African ministers of commerce, trade, and agriculture on the trading floor of the Kansas City Board of Trade.

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 »

A “New Dynamic” for Rural America Highlighted at the 2010 Agricultural Outlook Forum

Yesterday was a landmark day for USDA.  The 2010 Agricultural Outlook Forum kicked off near Washington with a top-flight list of speakers, including Secretary Tom Vilsack; Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan;  Ambassador Ronald Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative; USDA Chief Economist Joseph Glauber and Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Jim Miller.

The Secretary was forceful in his commitment to rural America, saying the Obama Administration has an approach to Rural Development and to value-added opportunity creation  that will take rural America to “the next level.”   He spoke of the need to develop new sources of biomass, turning marginal lands into highly productive property.  He told us that “It is time for America to take back its energy destiny” and, noting the large number of young people, including National FFA representatives in the audience, said “Your country needs you.  I say to young people that you have a future in rural America.”

In the afternoon Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Victor Vasquez and I moderated panel discussions on the future of rural communities.  Victor’s panelists discussed topics including how to bring financial institutions and economic activity to Indian reservations, building new capital networks, and promoting redevelopment and financial security through microlending.

One of my passions is promoting the “Know Your Farmer, Know your Food” initiative that is a priority of Deputy Secretary Merrigan.  It was my privilege to moderate a distinguished panel that centered on the cooperative model and how it can make a difference, not only in the area of channeling locally and regionally produced foods to urban populations, but improving the quality of foods in schools and also using the cooperative model to improve access to health care in rural areas that often suffer from a lack of medical staff.

It was an amazing day, not just for me, but for all of us committed to a vibrant rural America …one that is not only productive, and relevant , but a place that is central to the economy of our nation and a catalyst for urban renewal.  The vision set forth by Secretary Vilsack yesterday is an exciting one, and will not only  change the lives of the one in six Americans that call rural America home, but will improve the health and well-being of all Americans for decades to come.

Cheryl L. Cook, Esq. Deputy Under Secretary, USDA Rural Development