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2 Jan 2012 - Secretary Vilsack Sez...

For the past 35 years I have traveled to Washington, D.C. a few days before Christmas to sit down in the office of the Secretary of Agriculture, look back and look ahead. In addition to that, I’ve always invited the Secretary to share whatever he wants to with America’s farmers and ranchers. That is why, once a year, we title this “Secretary Sez”; this year with Tom Vilsack.

“Let me, first of all, say Thank You to the extraordinarily hard working farmers and ranchers of America. I have some sense of how hard you work, how difficult and risky your job is and your work is; but I also have an appreciation for how important it is. We take what you do for granted in this country. You provide us with a security that very few countries and, people in very few countries have, of a food supply that is nutritious, that is diverse, that is available and affordable.

You know, this year I have a slightly different view of the world. My nephew, Sam Bell, is a marine and he’s currently stationed in Afghanistan, in some remote area. I think of Sam often and pray for his safe return here to the United States. But I also think of the fifty-five people from U.S.D.A that are working with Sam Bell in Afghanistan, fifty-five individuals who are working with the farmers of Afghanistan to make sure that not only do they have a safe country, but they have a country with a working economy. They know that 80% of people in Afghanistan are connected to agriculture in one form or another. If we can get that agriculture in Afghanistan to be more profitable, then maybe we can make that country a bit safer, and then maybe Sam can come home, and then maybe we can be a bit safer.

So you see, agriculture is not only about feeding our families, it is also about making this world a better and safer place. So, thank you very much for everything you do. God bless you and your families and I hope that 2012 is every bit as successful as you want it to be.”

Well done, Secretary Vilsack, and as you look forward to the year 2012, a lot of travels on your itinerary, will you be representing American agriculture in other parts of the world?

"Likely so, but we will start with an opportunity in Hawaii at the American Farm Bureau convention ,we are looking forward to the opportunity to talk a little bit about how we are dealing with reduced budgets, and how we are realigning and restructuring the U. S. Department of Agriculture to do a better job of providing services to farmers and ranchers and folks who work and live and raise their families in rural America."

And that is Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack’s thoughts on the Secretary Sez.