Sponsored By

Perdue releases rural taskforce reportPerdue releases rural taskforce report

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue tells AFBF convention about USDA reorganization and reports on rural prosperity task force findings.

Holly Spangler

January 9, 2018

2 Min Read
USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue addresses the AFBF Convention.Holly Spangler

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue told the membership at the 99th annual American Farm Bureau Federation convention that he’ll present the results gathered by a new rural prosperity task force to President Trump.

“We envision a rural America with world-class resources, and we want to build a robust community for generations to come,” Perdue said, adding that the report contains more than 100 actionable items in five areas including e-connectivity, quality of life, rural workforce, technology and economic development, that are designed to help improve life in rural America. 

President Trump signed an executive order establishing the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in April 2017, when Perdue was sworn in as Secretary.

Perdue noted that anyone who lives in “what used to be called flyover country” knows rural America hasn’t kept pace and population has been stagnant, at best. He spent much of the summer and fall traveling to 30 states in an RV tour, gathering information and talking to rural stakeholders.

“We listened and learned about what’s working and what’s not,” he said. “As we traveled from place to place, it was clear that people believe the folks in Washington, D.C. had stopped listening to them. They’re tired of lip service, slogans, and benign or purposeful neglect.

“We found a real hunger from people wanting to be heard,” he added. “The result is a report that identifies changes to promote rural growth.”

Perdue spoke passionately about tearing down regulatory burdens on agriculture, and asked farmers to help him identify rules “that you encounter every day that are an impediment and harmful to your productivity.” Farmers can share those situations at USDA’s new rural prosperity website.

AFBF members responded with resounding applause to Perdue’s declaration that the Trump administration is “rolling back onerous regulations” at USDA and all across the federal government, quoting the President’s admonition to cut two old regulations for every  new one instituted.

Further, Perdue said the “Trump administration has cut out 22 regulations for every new one that’s come on the books,” and claims those efficiencies will save $56 million annually.

Perdue said he’s restructuring USDA to be more responsive to the people it serves, moving agencies like FSA, Risk Management and NRCS under one roof because they’re interrelated. The idea is to better serve agriculture.

“I’m a grow it and sell it kind of guy. If you keep growing it, USDA will do our very best to help you sell it,” he added.

About the Author(s)

Holly Spangler

Senior Editor, Prairie Farmer, Farm Progress

Holly Spangler has covered Illinois agriculture for more than two decades, bringing meaningful production agriculture experience to the magazine’s coverage. She currently serves as editor of Prairie Farmer magazine and Executive Editor for Farm Progress, managing editorial staff at six magazines throughout the eastern Corn Belt. She began her career with Prairie Farmer just before graduating from the University of Illinois in agricultural communications.

An award-winning writer and photographer, Holly is past president of the American Agricultural Editors Association. In 2015, she became only the 10th U.S. agricultural journalist to earn the Writer of Merit designation and is a five-time winner of the top writing award for editorial opinion in U.S. agriculture. She was named an AAEA Master Writer in 2005. In 2011, Holly was one of 10 recipients worldwide to receive the IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Ag Journalism award. She currently serves on the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation, the U of I Agricultural Communications Advisory committee, and is an advisory board member for the U of I College of ACES Research Station at Monmouth. Her work in agricultural media has been recognized by the Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Corn, Illinois Council on Agricultural Education and MidAmerica Croplife Association.

Holly and her husband, John, farm in western Illinois where they raise corn, soybeans and beef cattle on 2,500 acres. Their operation includes 125 head of commercial cows in a cow/calf operation. The family farm includes John’s parents and their three children.

Holly frequently speaks to a variety of groups and organizations, sharing the heart, soul and science of agriculture. She and her husband are active in state and local farm organizations. They serve with their local 4-H and FFA programs, their school district, and are active in their church's youth and music ministries.

Subscribe to Our Newsletters
BEEF Magazine is the source for beef production, management and market news.

You May Also Like