Tuesday, July 30, 2013

USDA Works to Rebuild US Economy

Here is this week's column by Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack:

This past week, President Obama laid out a vision for America’s economic future.

Since day one, the Obama Administration has been focused on our nation’s economic recovery, and over recent years we’ve seen positive signs of growth.

Businesses have created more than 7 million new jobs during the past 40 months. The housing market is coming back. Led by the tremendous productivity of America’s farmers and ranchers, our nation’s exports are growing.

But we also know that much remains to be done, and there’s no excuse for letting up. The President is squarely focused on building a strong middle class. He is committed to ensuring that every American has the opportunity to secure a good job, a quality education, a dependable place to call home, a secure path to retirement and affordable health care with decent benefits.

Those opportunities are just as important for folks who call rural America home. At the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we have laid out a vision to rebuild the rural economy and create a strong middle class in rural America. In recent years we’ve expanded markets for agriculture and rural business, while laying the groundwork for new growth in the coming generation.

With Washington suffering from too much gridlock today, President Obama pledged that he’ll do everything within his executive power to keep making progress. At USDA we’ll continue our own efforts, building on the record results we’ve achieved in recent years.

Meanwhile we will continue to work with Congress to break the gridlock and accomplish big things. For rural America, Congress must act as soon as possible to pass a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill, which is crucial for USDA’s efforts to grow the rural economy and provide new income in rural communities.

Additionally, by fixing America’s broken immigration system, Congress can strengthen American agriculture, grow the rural economy, and create a common-sense system that works for farmers and farm workers alike.

Over the coming months, President Obama will continue to discuss his vision for a strong middle class. He’ll outline steps that can be taken by the administration, by Congress and by other partners to help grow the economy. Folks in our small towns and rural communities can help lead the way on that effort, and USDA will stand with rural America every step of the way.

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