Happy Birthday USDA

Happy Birthday USDA

Happy Birthday USDA. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the United States Department of Agriculture and it has been a busy 150 years. Yesterday, President Obama signed a proclamation that said quote, “The USDA has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the American people for generations. During the Great Depression, the Department helped bring an end to the Dust Bowl by promoting soil conservation. Through two World Wars, the Victory Garden Program fed troops and families around the world.” Current Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack reflects on the impact the department has had on the United States.

VILSACK: In 1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed into law an act of Congress establishing the USDA. Later, in his final annual message to Congress, Lincoln called the USDA the peoples department. President Lincoln understood the importance of agriculture to America’s success and today our values as a country are still rooted in our rural communities. For decades USDA has worked hard to fulfill Lincoln’s vision.

Vilsack says that over the last 3 and half years they have furthered their commitment to rural America.

VILSACK: USDA has supported producers making a record number of farm loans, maintaining a strong safety net and expanding markets to drive record exports. We’ve supported rural communities with more than 50-thousand loans to help rural businesses to create jobs and thousands of infrastructure projects that are delivering modern broadband, water and electric services to millions.

The USDA is responsible for overseeing the farm bill every 5 years and Vilsack says they have used it to help conservation efforts.

VILSACK: We’ve enrolled a record number of acres in conservation programs and laid out a sensible new forest planning rule to promote job growth while conserving the environment. And we have provided nutrition assistance for 1 in 4 Americans to be sure they put healthy meals on the table even when times are tough.

Vilsack goes on to say that agriculture and rural America are thriving today.

VILSACK: And their success is driving job growth and leading the nation back from recession but we know there is still much more work to be done. USDA has a responsibility to meet the challenges of the future and the changing needs of rural America. So as we look back at over 150 years of accomplishments, we’re also looking ahead. We will continue supporting agriculture and rural economic growth and we’ll develop the next generation of renewable energy, we’ll protect America’s natural resources and we will promote healthy families and vibrant communities.

So Happy 150th USDA.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network. 

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