Rural communities will play a critical role in the nation's economic recovery, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in Omaha, Nebraska on January 28, 2011. Vilsack pointed out that producers learned well about the dangers of debt during the 1980s’ farm crisis and took heed, which has placed them and their communities in a better position during the recent downward trend in the economy.
Innovation has been key to producers as they find new ways to boost production. Ethanol and bio-fuels are an important factor for continued growth and the strong exports of U.S. crops are supporting jobs in rural America, Secretary Vilsack said. He also commented that it is probable that the most successful part of our economy today is agriculture.
The Secretary was in Omaha for the Pheasants Forever National Convention and talked about ways to boost the rural economy and conserve cropland. He announced a new sign-up for an additional four million acres nationwide in the Conservation Reserve Program.
He also met with faculty of the Peter Kiewit Institute on the University of Nebraska Omaha campus. There, the focus was on President Obama’s efforts to help improve rural economies with education, infrastructure and innovation. He also met with invited guests of USDA Rural Development and the USDA Farm Service Agency.