On March 1, across-the-board spending cuts, known here in Washington as “the sequester,” took effect when Congress was unable to reach a new agreement on the budget. These cuts are required by law for every item within USDA’s budget, and they will impact all of the work we do in some way.
Under the Obama Administration, USDA already has made historic efforts to streamline operations and safeguard taxpayer dollars. Under our Blueprint for Stronger Service, we have carried out workforce reductions, closed offices and laboratories, and streamlined IT services. We have cut our travel costs by more than 42 percent since 2010. We’re always looking for new ways to save more.
These targeted efforts have already saved taxpayers more than $700 million. In fact, our operating budget today is lower than it was in 2009. Read more »
In his State of the Union address, President Obama laid out the importance of manufacturing as we seek to make America a magnet for jobs. He believes there’s much we can achieve to create new manufacturing jobs, including in rural America.
For example, we can achieve a common-sense reform of the tax code. The President proposed lowering tax rates for manufacturers by 25 percent, while ending unfair tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.
We can achieve strong markets and a level playing field for American-made products. USDA has already helped the President achieve record exports of agricultural products – with more than $478 billion in agricultural exports from 2009-2012. We will be there to help expand trade with Europe, Asia and other areas throughout the world. These efforts will open doors not just for agriculture, but for quality manufactured products made here at home. Read more »
Today’s farmers and ranchers are the most productive in the history of our nation. By embracing innovation, farmers of many crops are able to produce more than ever today. Meanwhile, our producers, foresters and rural landowners are undertaking modern conservation practices that help them achieve three to five times the benefits of older techniques.
At USDA, we’re working to support America’s farmers and ranchers in making the next big advances in agriculture and conservation.
First and foremost, we will continue to strengthen agricultural research. In his State of the Union Address, President Obama discussed a critical need to invest in the best ideas. We know that investing in agricultural research helps the economy and strengthens agriculture. Every dollar invested in this research generates $20 in economic benefits for our nation, while giving our farmers and ranchers new tools to mitigate risk and increase production. Read more »
This week, in his State of the Union Address, President Obama laid out his plan to make America a magnet for jobs in the generations to come, and further strengthen the middle class. He stressed that in the wealthiest nation on earth, we must build up ladders of opportunity – to ensure that folks who work hard and play by the rules have a chance to get ahead.
The values the President spoke of in his address are shared by many across rural America. Our farmers, ranchers, rural businesses and families are committed to the value of hard work. They agree that we owe today’s young people the opportunity to get ahead. They know that we must continue working to alleviate rural poverty to build up the middle class across our nation.
The President’s first priority is to make America a magnet for jobs – and when it comes to job creation, there’s no place like rural America. Read more »
At USDA, we’ve made record efforts in the past four years to support homegrown energy. This year, we’re looking ahead to a promising future for biofuels.
Biofuels have already contributed a great deal to our economy, to our energy security and to the bottom line on our farms and ranches. Today we’re taking steps to strengthen the biofuels industry and helping innovate the next generation of advanced biofuels.
For example, we’ve invested more than $320 million into biofuels research to help accelerate the development of technology needed to take the next big steps. Read more »
The prosperity of American agriculture provides us with a secure and abundant food supply here at home – and tremendous opportunity to export quality U.S. products across the globe.
Today, the American brand of agriculture is surging in popularity worldwide. Fiscal years 2009-2012 represent the strongest four years in history for agricultural trade, with U.S. agricultural product exports exceeding $478 billion over these four years.
2013 is off to a roaring start already – with agricultural exports on track to set a new record.
This week has brought especially good news for America’s beef producers. On Monday, the Government of Japan—which represents our fourth largest agricultural export market—announced an agreement to expand access for U.S. beef. We estimate that this new agreement will result in hundreds of millions of dollars in economic benefits for the U.S. economy in the coming years. Read more »