04 January 2015 - Words from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack

Fifty-one weeks a year on my radio and television shows, as well as this column I express my personal biases, opinions and prejudices on Samuelson Sez. As I have often said, I don’t expect you to agree with me, but I do want to stimulate your thinking. Because I realized decades ago there are three sides to every story, your side, my side and somewhere in between, the truth.

For the past 37 years in the 52nd week of the year, I re-title the column to the Secretary Sez and give the Secretary of Agriculture the opportunity to express his thoughts directly to you. Again this year, the Secretary is Tom Vilsack and here are his thoughts…..

“I want to thank you for this opportunity to speak directly to your audience. First and foremost I wish them a very happy, joyous and prosperous New Year and hope they enjoy the New Year with family and friends.

“I hope they also recognize in 2015 that we are blessed in this country with incredible producers, incredible farmers, incredible ranchers; people that make our lives so much more rich and so much more beneficial. An opportunity for us to pursue our life’s dreams because we delegate our responsibility for preparing our food and growing our food to others. An opportunity to go out of the grocery with a little more cash in our pocket than most people around the world. So we are blessed.

“One thing I would hope folks would do in 2015, is when they hear someone say ‘Washington is broken, the government is not working’, I hope that they think about what USDA does every day. I hope they think about the 465,000 producers who received a check in 2014 from USDA for disaster assistance. I hope they think about the 905,000 families who actually have a home through a home loan provided through USDA. I hope that they understand that over 4,000 communities have safer drinking water and better sewage treatment because of USDA or that 19,000 businesses were helped or assisted throughout the last several years, to help create jobs. This is government working. This is Washington working.

“There may be bits and pieces of our system that are not working as well as any of us would like, but there are tens of thousands of people who work extraordinarily hard every single day, as our producers do, to make life in this country a little bit better, to make this country a little bit stronger, to make this country the free and powerful nation that it is.

“So I hope and wish that folks throughout 2015 appreciate the farmers, ranchers and producers of this country. I hope they just take a minute to think about that person in the USDA office who is working every single day for rural America and for agriculture.”

As we begin the new year of 2015, those are the thoughts of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack shared with you on this annual special edition of the…

Secretary Sez.