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Posts tagged: State of the Union

Secretary’s Column: Expanding Opportunity for Rural Americans

In his State of the Union address earlier this week, President Obama outlined his plan to move our economy forward by expanding opportunity for all Americans. Recognizing the role that agriculture continues to play in our nation’s economic recovery, the President said, “Today in America, […] a farmer prepared for the spring after the strongest five-year stretch of farm exports in our history.”

America’s farmers, ranchers and foresters, and those working in supporting industries, are to be commended for these accomplishments. They are expanding and growing markets around the world, spurring innovation, and creating jobs and opportunity on and off the farm, even in the face of uncertainty. The future of rural America depends on their continued leadership, and we must make sure they have the tools they need to continue to grow. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: A Magnet for Jobs

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 »

Secretary Announces Refinancing Help for Rural USDA Home Loan Borrowers in Select States

Today, rural homeowners in 19 states across the nation are getting some much-needed and long-awaited help to cope with declining home values and a sluggish housing market.

Secretary Vilsack announced today a pilot program to help rural borrowers with loans made or guaranteed by USDA refinance their mortgages to reduce their monthly payments. This initiative is part of the president’s on- going efforts to help middle class families, create jobs, and strengthen the economy. Since the Obama Administration took office three years ago, Secretary Vilsack has worked closely with the White House to ensure that rural Americans continue to enjoy the many benefits of homeownership. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: An Economy That’s Built to Last

This week, in his State of the Union address, President Obama laid out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last – an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values.

The President and I believe that this is a make or break moment for the middle class. What’s at stake is the basic American promise that if you work hard, you can do well enough to raise a family, own a home, and put a little away for retirement. Read more »

The President’s State of the Union Address

Last night, in his State of the Union address, President Obama outlined his plan to build an economy that lasts – one that fulfills the basic American promise that if you work hard, you can do well enough to raise a family, own a home, and put a little away for retirement.  He laid out his vision for a nation where everyone gets a fair shot and an economy that makes, creates and innovates. I know we can get there, because we’ve been there before.  That’s how things have always worked on our farms, in our businesses, and especially in small towns and rural communities.

Visit HERE to read or watch the President’s State of the Union address, or to submit questions to the White House about the speech.

Perennial Grains are Getting Bigger

Deputy Secretary Merrigan beside a banner comparing the shallow roots of annual wheat with the deep roots of its perennial relative, wheatgrass.  The banner hung in the Patio of the Whitten Building for three months time and was viewed by thousands of USDA employees and stakeholders.

Deputy Secretary Merrigan beside a banner comparing the shallow roots of annual wheat with the deep roots of its perennial relative, wheatgrass. The banner hung in the Patio of the Whitten Building for three months time and was viewed by thousands of USDA employees and stakeholders.

President Obama stressed the importance of innovation in his State of the Union address – and reminded us, “We do big things.”  Wes Jackson, who lent USDA the banner pictured here, founded The Land Institute around the “big idea” of using nature as a model for agriculture, including perennial grain crops whose deep roots hold soil in place and take up water and nutrients year-round, rather than the more typical annual grains that produce a big harvest and then die each year.  But perennial grains generally lack big seeds and high yields, and it has been difficult to breed grains that are both perennial and high-yielding. Read more »