U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack addressed U.S. cattle producers from across the country in Washington, D.C., as part of the 2010 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Legislative Conference.
Secretary Vilsack reinforced the importance of U.S. agriculture to eradicating global hunger and providing one out of every twelve jobs in the United States. The Secretary quickly illustrated the importance the export marketplace plays in sustaining U.S. agriculture in terms of profitability and jobs. USDA projects a $31 billion trade surplus next year, compared to a current $27 billion surplus. He said every $1 billion in surplus is equivalent to 8,000 to 9,000 jobs. Secretary Vilsack said many new opportunities for U.S. exports need to be identified and existing trade barriers need to be resolved.
The issue of unprecedented environmental regulations on dust proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was also an issue of concern for cattle producers. The Secretary said he accepts full responsibility for USDA but can’t speak for EPA. He said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is doing a tour of rural America and meeting with producers at his request.
Source: National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA)