Vilsack encourages farmers to embrace new markets, be proactive

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U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is encouraging American farmers and ranchers to become more proactive and less reactive in order to help consumers across the country understand the importance of agriculture.

According to an Associated Press article on Vilsack’s speech in Washington D.C., Vilsack warned that rural America is “becoming less and less relevant to the politics of the country” because its assets like food, recreational areas and energy are overlooked as the population shifts from rural communities to urbanized areas.

“Why is it that we don’t have a farm bill? It isn’t just the differences of policy. It’s the fact that rural America with a shrinking population is becoming less and less relevant to the politics of the country, and we had better recognize that and we better begin to reverse it,” Vilsack said.

The Agriculture Department says 50 percent of rural counties have lost population in the last four years and poverty rates are higher there than in metropolitan areas. To ensure the voices of America’s farmers and ranchers are heard, Vilsack says “we need a proactive message, not a reactive message.”

“How are you going to encourage young people to want to be involved in rural America or farming if you don’t have a proactive message?” Vilsack said. “You are competing against the world now.”

Vilsack encourages farmers to embrace new kinds of markets, work to promote global exports, embrace diversity and replace a preservation mindset with a growth mindset.

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WI  |  December, 11, 2012 at 04:04 PM

If they think in Washington we cannot farm without a Farm Bill they are dead wrong. I along with many farmers I know will do just fine and maybe even better without a farm bill. The only people who will have a problem are the ones with ther hand out for a gimme. It is about time they get off there rear ends and get a job and work for there food there housing assistance there free phones and whatever else santa obama will give them. That council woman from Detroit who wants Obama to give them the bacon shopuld be given the bacon, but she probably would then want someone to fry it for her. As far as getting our voices heard in Washington I along with many people have told them,get there house in order an STOP SPENDING SO MUCH AND GIVING OUR MONEY TOO FOREIGN COUNTRIES but to no avail.

MT  |  December, 12, 2012 at 01:22 PM

Who is irrelevant? Let's take an accounting of events on Vilsack's watch: He installed Kathleen Merrigan as chief cheerleader for American food snobbery with her boutique "know your farmer, know your food" diversion from mainstream agriculture He endorsed Michele Obama's preposterous scheme to build expensive new supermarkets every quarter mile, or so, across inner city ghettos (hey, that will cost us only about half a billion bucks, more or less, we think) He stood by as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was gutted by the Tester amendment, excusing some 95% of food producers from complying with new regulations He stood by as USDA became sufficiently infiltrated with anti-agriculture scabs the agency ended up publicly supporting meatless Mondays on it's website (quickly walked back without explanation or apology) He has no farm bill, roughly the equivalent of him standing facing backward with his shorts down around his ankles Oh, yeah, and sensible Iowa voters rejected his wife Christie (imagine the mood around the Vilsack household these days) Who is irrelevant? Vilsack is just another failed bureaucrat lashing out at his constituents out of henpecked frustration. That doesn't excuse his bawling us out, though. Sack Vilsack. Swap him in for the next useless bureaucrat in line.

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