Yankton, SD, Mar 26, 2012 -- The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) offices of Rural Development, Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation District and Agricultural Research Service today hosted a listening session on the many Department opportunities, priorities, programs and services offered to South Dakota residents. National Food and Agricultural Council (NFAC) Executive Director John Berge was the guest speaker.
“A strong American economy depends on the work of our nation’s farmers, ranchers, small businesses and families,” said Berge. “USDA is committed to ensuring South Dakota communities stay strong and vibrant so that our nation can continue to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.”
The listening session served as an opportunity to educate participants about USDA programs and other resources across the federal government that can help rebuild and revitalize rural American communities. In addition, the session provided awareness to the public of USDA’s efforts to coordinate with its state and local field offices, drawing a common thread among the offices in the delivery of its programs and services.
The Obama Administration with Agriculture Secretary Vilsack’s leadership has also worked tirelessly to strengthen rural America, implement the Farm Bill, maintain a strong farm safety net, and create opportunities for America’s farmers and ranchers. U.S. agriculture is currently experiencing one of its best years in decades thanks to the productivity, resiliency, and resourcefulness of our producers. Today, net farm income is at record levels while debt has been cut in half since the 1980s. Overall, American agriculture supports 1 in 12 jobs in the United States and provides American consumers with 86 percent of the food we consume, while maintain affordability and choice.
The Obama Administration has aggressively worked to expand export opportunities and reduce barriers to trade, helping to push agricultural exports to record levels in 2011 and beyond. Strong agricultural exports are a positive contribution to the U.S. trade balance, support than 1 million American jobs and boost economic growth.