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safety net

Customer Service, Partnership Support A Healthier Start in Life

Getting out into our nation’s communities and witnessing the impact federal nutrition programs have on lives leaves a lasting impression. On a recent trip to Vermont, I saw firsthand how USDA supports America's nutrition safety net, helping a new generation of Americans get a healthier start in life. Thanks to programs like WIC, participating mothers and their children can look forward to a brighter future.

Secretary's Column: The Importance of a Strong Safety Net

At the beginning of this New Year, we at USDA are redoubling our efforts to achieve an adequate, defensible safety net for producers, more economic opportunity through the biobased economy, safe and nutritious food for Americans, robust efforts to carry out research and greater conservation of our natural resources.

To further our efforts in these areas, I hope to work with Congress this year to secure passage of a comprehensive, multiyear Food, Farm and Jobs Bill.

One very important part of a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill is to provide a safety net for America’s producers, who face a great deal of uncertainty in their work – both from Mother Nature and market prices.  Historically, the Farm Bill authorizes USDA to provide disaster assistance for producers and step in with help when they face volatile markets.

Secretary's Column: Three Years of Accomplishments

As we begin the year, I want to share with you a few numbers that help measure USDA’s impact for America’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities over the past three years:

  • To help keep American agriculture profitable and keep farmers on the farm, USDA maintained a strong safety net.  Over the past three years, our crop insurance program has paid out about $16.2 billion to more than 325,000 farmers who lost crops to natural disasters.  Other programs have provided nearly $3.5 billion in aid to help more than 250,000 farmers and ranchers recover from natural disasters.

Secretary's Column: Lessons from the Farm to Strengthen America

A week ago, President Obama released the American Jobs Act, a specific plan to jumpstart our economy and put Americans to work today.  It contains ideas that both parties in Washington have supported.  And yesterday, he laid out a plan that will pay for it – and for other long-term investments we need to stay competitive – while reducing our deficits.

The plan takes a balanced approach.  It looks for savings across government.  And it asks everyone to do their part and pay their fair share so we can live within our means.

For agriculture, the plan focuses on what the President and I believe is one of the most pressing challenges facing producers right now: maintaining a strong safety net and disaster assistance programs that will work for all farmers and ranchers, no matter what they produce or where they produce it.