As we look ahead to the coming years, I know that rural America has unlimited capacity to continue providing a great deal for every American – including even more opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors.
We know that many Americans deeply value outdoor recreation. According to industry estimates more than 140 million Americans participate in some outdoor recreation activity annually. In fact, more than 38 percent of American adults participate in hunting and fishing alone.
These opportunities are important for those living in our cities, and for their families. Outdoor recreation helps us all to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors – from parks, to trails, to lakes and forests. Meanwhile, getting outdoors allows us to instill a love and appreciation of the environment for our youngsters. Read more »
Today, USDA remains focused on working with Congress to secure a comprehensive, multiyear Food, Farm and Jobs Bill. A comprehensive Farm Bill will allow USDA to carry on our record efforts to support agriculture, conservation, trade, research and rural development efforts – and it will provide needed support and certainty for folks in rural America.
USDA’s credit programs provide a very good example of the positive impact a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would have for our nation.
Through programs authorized under the current Farm Bill, USDA provides access to credit that helps farmers to buy or expand an operation, helps businesses to grow and hire more, helps rural families looking for a good place to live and helps build up rural communities. Read more »
At the beginning of this New Year, we at USDA are redoubling our efforts to achieve an adequate, defensible safety net for producers, more economic opportunity through the biobased economy, safe and nutritious food for Americans, robust efforts to carry out research and greater conservation of our natural resources.
To further our efforts in these areas, I hope to work with Congress this year to secure passage of a comprehensive, multiyear Food, Farm and Jobs Bill.
One very important part of a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill is to provide a safety net for America’s producers, who face a great deal of uncertainty in their work – both from Mother Nature and market prices. Historically, the Farm Bill authorizes USDA to provide disaster assistance for producers and step in with help when they face volatile markets. Read more »
In recent days, Congressional leaders came together with an agreement to provide middle class tax relief and extend protection for two million unemployed Americans.
This agreement provides some relief for all of us who are frustrated with the gridlock that often dominates Washington. It is also good news for the 98 percent of American families and 97 percent of small businesses who were protected from a tax increase.
At the same time, I am disappointed that Congress was unable to pass a multi-year Food, Farm and Jobs Bill. Congress did extend some 2008 Farm Bill programs that will prevent a spike in the price of dairy and other commodities. However, the extension fails to provide any of the long-term certainty that we know is vital for rural America. Read more »
Over the course of 2012, farm families and rural communities faced a number of challenges. A record drought impacted much of the country and many were impacted by a major hurricane, flooding and severe storms. However, thanks to the resilience of rural Americans, our communities are still going strong.
Over the course of this year, USDA continued our record efforts to help folks across our nation, and I am proud of the work we carried out.
We supported agriculture. This summer, USDA convened the White House Rural Council to help America’s farmers and ranchers overcome drought. We provided unique flexibility for crop insurance that saved producers more than $20 million, expanded emergency lending for producers, opened more than 2.8 million acres of conservation land for emergency forage and more. Read more »
As Americans celebrate the holiday season, we have a chance to catch up with family and friends, count our blessings and reflect on the year behind us.
Looking back on 2012, I am proud of those across rural America who stayed resilient in the face of disaster. They managed farms, ranches and Main Street businesses through a record drought, an historic hurricane, and more. Ultimately, their hard work kept the momentum of rural America going strong.
I’m thankful for the thousands of men and women who, year in and year out, step up to serve our nation. I know that many of these military service members come from our small towns and rural communities – and that no matter where they’re from, each is a hero to our nation. They’re stationed around the world today and many will spend their holidays away from family and friends, so that we can be safely at home with ours. Read more »