Thursday, January 16, 2014

On the importance of the U.S. Dept of Agriculture (and by implication and association, rural America)

I just posted a post about Tom Vilsack's comments re: promise zones in rural America based on an interview with NPR.  Much as it may be politically motivated rhetoric, I do find compelling Vilsack's comments about why his job matters (my words, not his) and what exactly it is that the USDA does.   
VILSACK: I've got the greatest job in America. An opportunity to help the 15 percent of America that lives in rural communities that provides most of the food that we consume, a good deal of the water that we rely on, most of the energy. Military families disproportionately come from rural areas and so the ability to try to respond to the persistently poor areas in rural America, the ability to work with farmers who provide us so much freedom, the ability to work with people that really cared deeply about their community and their families and their country, it's just a great job. 
And we have so many opportunities within USDA to make a difference because of the broad portfolio. It's not just about farmers. It's about rural development, it's about land-grant universities, it's about food safety, it's about the forests. It's a wonderful, tremendous department and we've done amazing work in the last four years. And I just want to make sure that the work that we do gets institutionalized and cemented as we culturally transform this agency into a 21st century government agency.

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