You may be familiar with Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer” speech that he delivered to the FFA Convention in November 1978. What he said then still rings true today. He describes the hard work and sacrifices as well as the gentle family spirit and sense of community that farmers and ranchers have provided from generation to generation across our great country. Farmers and ranchers are the backbone of America, working from sun-up to sundown, taking care of the land and livestock and providing food for their fellow citizens and the rest of the world.
Growing up in small, rural West Texas towns, we both have a deep respect and admiration for America’s producers. We were both actively involved in 4-H and FFA, which instilled values that guide our work today – a strong work ethic, integrity, treating everyone fairly and with dignity, and perseverance. Our backgrounds led us both to pursue degrees in agriculture at Texas Tech University, and we are proud to now lead the Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services mission area and the Food and Nutrition Service at USDA.
We understand the critical link between agriculture and the 15 nutrition programs that FNS administers. We are pleased to implement the President’s Support for Farmers Program where USDA is purchasing over $1 billion in high quality, U.S.-grown products that will be provided to those in need across the country. The Farm to School Program is a tremendous way to educate students by connecting farming to the food they eat. We are committed to working collaboratively with producers of all sizes to better serve our customers with access to food, whether it is through schools, food banks, Indian Tribal Organizations, farmers markets, or with SNAP and WIC benefits.
America is truly blessed by the productivity of farmers and ranchers, and without them, none of our programs would operate. On National Farmer’s Day, celebrated on October 12th, we extend our sincere gratitude to producers across this Nation who make the daily sacrifice so that we can all enjoy the fruits of their labor.