This past week, I had the chance to sit down with about 20 business leaders in central Illinois to hear their views on ways we can improve the nation’s economy, especially from the agriculture industry perspective. The meeting was part of a series of outreach efforts across the country this summer to rural Americans as part of the White House Business Council and the White House Rural Council.
I want to thank Tim McArdle of Brandt Consolidated, Inc., who leads a successful agri-business in Springield, IL that helps farmers adopt new technologies for their operations. We gathered representatives from many local businesses and had a frank and open discussion about the role of the Federal government in creating a business environment that encourages job growth and improves economic conditions in the agricultural sector and rural communities. Read more »
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan listens to and answers questions from seniors from Calvert High School Calvert, Texas Jamarion Ramirez, Andre Ross, Telisa Grimes, LaKendra Crowley Ja’Marcus Ashley, Blair Burns and Shameka Grimes.
It wasn’t supposed to happen.
There wasn’t supposed to be an agriculture curriculum. There wasn’t supposed to be an instructor. And there definitely wasn’t any money to send seven African-American students from one of the smallest and lowest income towns in Texas to Washington, D.C., to speak with high-level USDA officials. 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 »
The state of Mississippi, recently hit with back-to-back disasters in the forms of record-intensity tornadoes in the eastern portion of the state and devastating floods in the Mississippi River Delta, was visited by two USDA under secretaries on Thursday.
USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager and USDA Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse spent much of Thursday in Mississippi as part of an intense whirlwind tour of flood-damaged areas of Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana and tornado damaged areas of Alabama. This tour follows visits last week by President Barack Obama and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to the tornado affected areas of Mississippi and Alabama. Read more »
U.S. Department of Agriculture Acting Under Secretary Farm and Foreign Agriculture Service Michael Scuse speaks with an area resident following an outreach event on the Mississippi River levee at Vidalia, LA, on Thursday, May 19, 2011. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.
The levee along the Mississippi River was busy with activity on Thursday, May 19. USDA Under Secretaries for Rural Development, Dallas Tonsager, and the Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agriculture Service, Michael Scuse along with Rural Development Louisiana State Director Clarence W. Hawkins and other USDA agencies, Southern University and LSU Agricultural Centers personnel, Congressional offices representatives, other governmental and local entities came together for residents and concerned citizens on the levee of the Mississippi River in Vidalia, Louisiana. 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 »