Agribusiness
Agricultural Secretary Vilsack: Farm Exports Are Creating Jobs and Growing the Rural Economy PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Communications   
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 08:24

DES MOINES, Iowa, June 12, 2012–Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today met with business and community leaders to discuss how continuing demand for American food and agricultural products abroad has led to the three best consecutive years for U.S. farm exports in our nation's history. Vilsack said the success of American agriculture is a positive economic story that is creating jobs in rural America and benefitting people around the world. Vilsack also highlighted a report released this week by the White House Rural Council and the U.S. Department of Agriculture which notes progress that has been made in the agricultural economy and details steps the Obama Administration has taken to help strengthen the farm economy and support jobs in rural America.

"In 2010, President Obama committed to doubling U.S. exports in five years, and just two years later, we are on pace to meet that goal," said Vilsack. "Meanwhile, people around the world continue to demand U.S. food and agricultural products, boosting American businesses and supporting our rural communities. To ensure these successes continue, USDA has aggressively worked to expand export opportunities and reduce barriers to trade. Less restrictions abroad, stronger trade deals for U.S. agriculture, and greater export assistance for U.S. businesses supports more than 1 million Americans jobs in industries from packing and shipping, to food processing, to transportation. This is an American-made success story worth sharing with our friends, family and neighbors."

Speaking to business leaders in Iowa, one of the nation's most productive agricultural economies, Vilsack pointed to the state's low unemployment rate of 5.1 percent as proof of agriculture's success story. Last year, Iowa exported a record $7 billion in agricultural products, which supported nearly 60,000 jobs on and off the farm. Thus far in 2012, the state's farm exports show a 15-percent gain over last year's record total.

Vilsack also highlighted a joint report released this week by the White House Rural Council and USDA, which notes how the President's National Export Initiative has opened new markets for U.S. agricultural products and services and contributed to a historic level of agricultural exports. Other highlights from the report include:

  • Innovation: Innovation in U.S. agriculture has kept America's farms among the most productive in the world. U.S. farm sector income reached a nominal record of $98.1 billion in 2011. Adjusting for general inflation, real farm income in 2011 recorded its 3rd highest level in the last 50 years.
  • Clean Energy: The Administration has pursued polices that promote domestic energy alternatives like biofuels, bioenergy, and wind power to provide new opportunities for farmers, ranchers, and forest managers. Pursuit of an all-of-the-above clean energy and energy efficiency strategy saved Americans a projected 6.5 billion kWh - enough energy to power over 590,000 homes for a year - and nearly doubled the amount of installed wind energy generation in the U.S. over the past three years from about 25,000 MW in 2008 to 47,000 MW in 2011.
  • New Industries: The Administration has supported new industry diversification within the agricultural economy. The retail value of the organic industry grew to $31.4 billion in 2011, up from $21.1 billion in 2008. The number of operations certified organic grew by 1,109 - or more than 6% - between 2009 and 2011.
  • Community Investment: The rural economy has been strengthened by investments in over 6,250 new community facilities. Additionally, over the last three years, 12,000 USDA grants and loans have been issued to assist over 50,000 rural small businesses.

Just a few weeks ago, USDA forecast 2012 farm exports to reach the second highest level on record, after 2011, making the past three years the strongest collective performance in our nation's history. Today, only 1 percent of U.S. companies export, and yet 95 percent of the world's consumers live outside the borders of the United States, creating significant opportunities for U.S. food and agriculture.

Responding to that demand since 2009, U.S. farmers and ranchers have delivered three of the four highest levels of U.S. agricultural exports in American history. In fiscal year 2012, the latest forecast sees $134.5 billion in U.S. farm exports, the second highest level ever and $3.5 billion greater than the previous forecast. And Vilsack said he expects new trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and the European Union to deliver even greater returns for U.S. businesses.

Vilsack said USDA is committed to expanding export opportunities for all producers. When asked about outcomes of USDA's March trade mission to China—the department's largest trade mission to date—he highlighted that the delegation included 39 U.S. companies, representatives from six state departments of agriculture, and achieved nearly $2 million in immediate sales.

In terms of new agreements beyond South Korea and Columbia, Vilsack pointed out a recent, major partnership with the potential for substantial returns: the United States and European Union equivalency arrangement for organic agricultural goods. The U.S. and EU are the world's largest producers of organics, said Vilsack, and estimates show the market for U.S. organics sales to the EU could grow substantially within the first few years of this arrangement. Moreover, the arrangement will provide expanded market access, reduce duplicative requirements and reduce certification costs while protecting organic integrity.

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to Host Discussion in Iowa on Surging Demand for American Agricultural Exports PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Communications   
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 07:39

WASHINGTON, June 12, 2012–TODAY, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will speak to guests at the Partnership Arthur Davis Conference Center in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, about how the continuing demand for American food and agricultural products abroad has led to the three best consecutive years for U.S. farm exports in our nation’s history. Vilsack will also highlight a report released earlier today by the White House Rural Council and the U.S. Department of Agriculture which notes progress that has been made in the agricultural economy and details steps the Obama Administration has taken to help strengthen the farm economy and support jobs in rural America.

 

U.S. agriculture continues to be a bright spot in America's economy and a driving force behind export growth, job creation, and our nation's competitiveness. Under the Obama Administration, U.S. agriculture accounts for 1 in 12 American jobs, provides American consumers with 83 percent of the food we consume, ensures the Americans spend less of their paychecks at the grocery store than most other countries, sustains a year-over-year trade surplus, supports record incomes for farm families in rural parts of our country, and is helping to support local and regional food systems as well as renewable energy markets. Just a few weeks ago, USDA forecast 2012 farm exports to reach the second highest level on record, after 2011, making the past three years the strongest collective performance in our nation’s history.

 

Iowa’s agricultural export success has played a major role in this American success story. Last year, Iowa exported a record $7 billion in agricultural products. Thus far in 2012, Iowa’s farm exports show a 15-percent gain over last year’s record total. Overall, Iowa’s farm exports support the state’s strong employment rate (Iowa’s unemployment rate through April was 5.1%) and nearly 60,000 jobs on and off the farm.

 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

1:30-2:30 p.m. CDT

 

WHAT: Remarks by Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on how U.S. agricultural exports are a bright spot in the American economy, and a strong agricultural industry has helped bolster Iowa’s economy.

 

WHERE: Des Moines Partnership's Arthur Davis Conference Room

700 Locust St., Suite 100

Des Moines, Iowa 50309

 

RSVP: Credentialed members of the media may attend the briefing.

 

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Rural People Should Not Be Forgotten by the Farm Bill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Elisha Smith   
Tuesday, 12 June 2012 07:31

By Chuck Hassebrook, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Center for Rural Affairs

Small towns and the people who live in them are forgotten by the proposed new farm bill developed by the Senate Agriculture Committee.  It would be the first farm bill in decades to invest no funds in rural development.

But help may be on the way.  Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is developing an amendment to change that.  It will likely be offered this week or next as the farm bill is debated by the full Senate.   Last week, 185 rural leaders and organizations from across the nation sent a letter to every U.S. Senator urging them to work with Senator Brown in securing farm bill investment in rural development.

Since, 2003, the federal investment in rural development has been cut by one-third, even as overall federal spending has grown.  Without farm bill funding, the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program will wither, denying loans, training and business plan assistance for rural enterprises with up to ten employees.

Grants will be fewer for farmers and ranchers launching innovative value added enterprises. Training and other assistance will be cut in half for beginning farmers and ranchers seeking a place on the land and in our communities. The $3 billion waiting list will lengthen for small towns in need of federal help with critical water and sewer upgrades.

Ordinary rural people can’t hire a bevy of high paid lobbyists. That makes it all the more critical that our Senators hear directly from us.  Rural people and communities should not be forgotten by the farm bill.

 
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to Visit Iowa; Discuss the Food, Farm and Jobs Bill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Communications   
Monday, 11 June 2012 08:51

WASHINGTON, June 11, 2012 – TODAY, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will travel to Iowa to highlight how agriculture is helping to create jobs and grow the economy.  He will also discuss the Food, Farm, and Jobs Bill.

 

Monday, June 11, 2012

10:45 a.m. CDT

WHAT: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will highlight the success of the agriculture economy and discuss the Food, Farm and Jobs Bill.

 

WHERE: Hurtsville Interpretive Center

18670 63rd St

Maquoketa, IA

 

3 p.m. CDT

 

WHAT: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will highlight the success of the agriculture economy and discuss the Food, Farm and Jobs Bill.

WHERE: Kirkwood Community College

Iowa Hall (Rooms A, B, C, and D)

6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW

Cedar Rapids, IA

 
Braley Joins USDA Secretary Vilsack to Discuss Food, Farm and Jobs Bill in Maquoketa and Cedar Rapids PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Monday, 11 June 2012 08:22

Senate took first steps toward Farm Bill passage this week; Braley and Vilsack seek feedback from Iowans  

 

Washington, DC – On Monday, June 11th, 2012, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) will join US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for a pair of listening sessions in Maquoketa and Cedar Rapids focused on the Food, Farm and Jobs Bill pending before Congress.

 

Just this week, the US Senate took the first steps toward passing the Food, Farm and Jobs Bill.

 

For past month, Braley has hosted listening sessions on the Food, Farm and Jobs Bill in communities across eastern Iowa, including in Grinnell, Independence, Manchester, Marengo, Marshalltown, Strawberry Point, Toledo, and Vinton.

 

Monday’s events are free and open to the public.

 

Monday June 11th, 2012

 

10:45am               Maquoketa Food, Farm and Jobs Bill Listening Session

Huntsville Interpretive Center

18670 63rd St.

Maquoketa, Iowa

 

3:00pm                 Cedar Rapids Food, Farm and Jobs Bill Listening Session

Kirkwood Community College

Iowa Hall (Rooms A, B, C and D)

6301 Kirkwood Blvd. SW

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

 

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