The face of America – and of American agriculture – is changing. The number of farms in the United States has grown 4 percent and the operators of those farms have become more diverse in the past five years, according to results of USDA’s most recent Census of Agriculture. The 2007 Census counted nearly 30 percent more women as principal farm operators. The count of Hispanic operators grew by 10 percent, and the counts of American Indian, Asian and Black farm operators increased as well. In addition, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that the number of minority-owned businesses grew more than 45 percent between 2002 and 2007.
To reflect the diversity of our agricultural sector and business community, USDA is stepping up its efforts to continually supplement its seven Agricultural Trade Advisory Committees (ATACs) with new members, especially those who represent minorities, women, or persons with disabilities. We believe that people with different backgrounds and views will make the work of these committees, and thus of USDA, more effective. Read more »
USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service has 98 offices worldwide that work every day to maintain access of U.S. agricultural products.
Outside of farm country, many people don’t realize the importance of American agriculture to our overall economy. One in 12 American jobs is connected to agriculture, in all sorts of industries from picking and processing, to packing and shipping, to shelving at your local market. And despite hardships and setbacks this year due to extreme weather, America’s farm economy remains one of the brightest spots in our nation’s economy. Read more »
Pictured here at Panama Gastronomica are show organizer Elena Hernandez, Iron Chef Jose Garces, and U.S. Ambassador to Panama Phyllis Powers.
The U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement now awaiting Congressional action promises to boost U.S. exports to the nation known as “The Crossroads of the Americas.” In total, Congressional ratification of the Panama, Colombia and South Korea trade agreements will help farmers and ranchers add more than $2.3 billion a year to the American economy, which will support nearly 20,000 jobs. In Panama, USDA is hard at work cultivating consumers’ tastes for high-quality U.S. food and agricultural products at events such as last month’s “Panama Gastronomica,” an international food show in Panama City. Read more »
This week, Congress will begin to take a look at important jobs legislation: new trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama and trade adjustment assistance to help train workers for the 21st century economy. These agreements will help create jobs and provide new income opportunities for our nation’s agricultural producers, small businesses, and rural communities.
Today, farm exports help support more than 1 million American jobs. Passage of these three agreements will infuse the American economy with an additional $2.3 billion in farm exports, supporting 20,000 American jobs. In fact, our nation’s economic output is estimated to grow more under the Korea agreement alone than from our last nine trade agreements combined. Read more »
The USDA awarded 55 grants to encourage the production and consumption of specialty crops. These grants will help new markets for American specialty crop producers and solidify local and regional markets.
When I go to the grocery store or visit my local farmers market, on the top of my shopping list are healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, and nuts. I know that these items, part of a larger agricultural group classified as specialty crops, are a critical component of maintaining a healthy diet and that it is important for me to include them in my family’s meals. Making sure that all Americans have access to healthy foods like specialty crops is a priority for me and for the USDA. Read more »
When I visited Washington, I met the Secretary of Agriculture who comes from the great farming state of Iowa and he knew that we were going to begin this project. In fact, the idea for this project was inspired by the First Lady’s work with Washington, D.C. students who’ve always lived in the city and have never had a chance to grow vegetables or tend to a garden. As I have the rare privilege of having some land in the center of a very crowded city, I thought some of Seoul’s city students might enjoy a similar experience. Read more »