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27 December 2015 - The Secretary Sez

For several decades I have been sharing with you, on a weekly basis, my personal thoughts, opinions and prejudices on ‘Samuelson Sez’. I don’t expect you to agree with me or disagree with me, but I do want to stimulate your thinking and perhaps have you take a look at various issues from a different point of view.

But there is one week a year that I take a vacation from ‘Samuelson Sez’ and I rename the program ‘Secretary Sez’. That happens at the end of the year when I fly to Washington, D.C., sit down in the office of the Secretary of Agriculture and talk about the year just ending and look ahead to the new year about to begin. For the 37th year, let me share with you the thoughts shared with me December 17th by the current Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack . . .

“Well, I want to thank you for the opportunity to speak directly to your audience and to wish them a Happy Holiday and a Merry Christmas. I want them to take an opportunity to be with loved ones and friends and to enjoy this holiday season, and understand how I feel about the future.

I am extraordinarily optimistic and hopeful about the future because of American agriculture. It makes us a safer and better nation. There is a lot of discussion today about terrorism, fear and so forth, but I think of those hard working farmers and ranchers and their family members working on Christmas Day, on New Year’s Day to make sure Americans have affordable, accessible, available food. I think about the fact that we are one of the few countries in the world that can actually feed ourselves; we are not really dependant on anyone.

I think of those families that also disproportionately send their sons and daughters into the military service and those sons and daughters may be away for the holidays.

So I just want to tell folks that I am optimistic because I know those hard-working people are going to continue to be there, they are going to continue to provide us with the greatest, most affordable and available food. I think we are going to continue to be the strongest nation in the world and the freest nation in the world, in part, because of American agriculture.

So my wish is for all those farmers, ranchers and everyone else to have a very merry Christmas and a happy holiday and I look forward to a very successful 2016.”

The thoughts shared with me by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and I thank him for sending his year-end greetings to the producers of America’s food, fiber and energy. I would certainly second what the Secretary had to say and offer my thanks to all of you for taking the risks everyday with weather, markets, government and a multitude of other challenges to produce everything you do for the non-farming consumers of the world.

This week’s thoughts on the Secretary Sez.