The week, USDA has been celebrating it’s 150-year anniversary, and Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack has been using the milestone to not only look back at USDA’s history, but look ahead:
“It’s an opportunity for us to put the focus on the great work that USDA has done over the last 150 years and the tremendous contribution that agriculture and rural America makes to the country every single day. I would make the case that 150 years ago, President Lincoln had a vision of the need for a department that would focus on agricultural production because he realized that a food secure nation would be a strong nation. Today we are fortunate that we have extraordinary productivity and extraordinary food security, so much so that we are allowed to take care of our own needs, but have a robust export market that are creating jobs here at home and improving incomes for farmers.”
In his travels around the world, Secretary Vilsack compares our USDA to other Departments of Agriculture around the world:
“I have not seen a department that has the breadth of responsibilities, from the forest service to food safety, nutrition and a strong safety net for producers, to market development both here and abroad. I met with Chinese officials today and they are focused on trying to get sixteen million farmers in their country to produce enough to feed their people. We have less than two million people in the US that farm and of that number, about 300,000 are the ones that produce most of what we consume here.”
And after one hundred fifty years, where does Secretary Vilsack see USDA going from here:
“The brightest days of agriculture are ahead of us. I see a country where everything we grow and raise, and every inch of land that we have is being put to a productive use to produce chemicals, fibers, fabrics, fuels, energy, crops for livestock and food in this country that creates a tremendous new opportunity for folks living, working and raising their families in rural areas.”
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack.