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 »
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 »