NFU Represented at USDA Rural Summit

4 06 2010

WASHINGTON (June 4, 2010) – Minnesota Farmers Union Vice President Gary Wertish represented the National Farmers Union (NFU) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Summit of Rural America event in Hillsboro, Mo., June 4. The event was a wrap up to the Rural Tour that has been ongoing since the summer of 2009. The objective of both the tour and summit was to gain insight from residents in small towns and collect their thoughts on revitalizing our agricultural nation.

Wertish co-chaired a breakout session on farm competitiveness and market productivity. Breakout sessions focused on providing solutions, ideas and success stories to address the challenges facing rural America. The philosophy behind the sessions was to create a constructive dialogue geared towards sharing success stories instead of reiterating problems or challenges.

“According to USDA statistics, one in twelve jobs in the U.S. is agriculture-related, and as rural residents we know how important we are to the U.S. economy,” said Wertish. “Our messages need to be expressed to the rest of the country and I truly believe that the USDA is on board with being proactive in obtaining the needs of America’s farmers, ranchers and rural residents.”

The summit focused on rebuilding rural America and had agricultural and community leaders from around the U.S., as well as farmers, ranchers and USDA staff in attendance. USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack discussed the challenges and opportunities facing the nation’s rural communities and encouraged those in attendance to think about their future. According to Vilsack, the framework for revitalizing and building a strong rural economy includes promoting renewable energy production and strengthening farm income.

“I am both honored and pleased that the USDA reached out to America’s rural communities and has a genuine interested in bettering the life of its citizens,” said Wertish. “Secretary Vilsack seems to be on board with NFU policy and I was proud to represent NFU throughout the summit.”

The summit allowed the USDA to discuss the next steps to bettering America’s agricultural future. Secretary Vilsack held a briefing today to review announcements made during the summit.

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