Agriculture Secretary: Rural America Is ‘Becoming Less and Less Relevant’
Former Iowa governor and current United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said during a conference late this past week that in the national landscape, rural America is “becoming less and less relevant.”
Vilsack is working to finish a five-year farm bill before the end of 2012, and spoke with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, Ranking Member Colin Peterson and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow at the Farm Journal Forum conference in Washington Thursday.
The perhaps poor choice of words came as Vilsack was arguing that the delay on the farm bill is not the result of policy reasons but rather the decline of political power in Washington from rural America as the population has declined and grown old in age.
The Des Moines Register reports that the former Democratic Governor encouraged those living in rural areas to be proactive, not to hang on to the past, and to pick their battles carefully.
“Unless we respond and react, the capacity of rural America and its power and its reach will continue to decline,” Vilsack said Thursday. Vilsack also said rural America needs to make sure the rest of the country does not overlook their biggest assets like the food supply, recreational areas, and energy.
“It’s time for us to have an adult conversation with folks in rural America.”
The Associated Press reports on Vilsack’s remarks:
Vilsack criticized farmers who have embraced wedge issues such as regulation, citing the uproar over the idea that the Environmental Protection Agency was going to start regulating farm dust after the Obama administration said repeatedly it had no so such intention.
In his Washington speech, he also cited criticism of a proposed Labor Department regulation, later dropped, that was intended to keep younger children away from the most dangerous farm jobs, and criticism of egg producers for dealing with the Humane Society on increasing the space that hens have in their coops. Livestock producers fearing they will be the next target of animal rights advocates have tried to undo that agreement.
“We need a proactive message, not a reactive message,” Vilsack said. “How are you going to encourage young people to want to be involved in rural America or farming if you don’t have a proactive message? Because you are competing against the world now.”
- John McCain Lectures Tea Party Senator on How ‘Business’ Gets Done in Congress: ‘That’s What We’ve Been Doing for a Couple Hundred Years’ 517 Comments
- Boy Scouts of America Vote to Allow Gay Members 476 Comments
- Pope Francis’ Sermon Sparks Debate: ‘Even the Atheists’ Have Been Redeemed ‘With the Blood of Christ’ 465 Comments
- Piers Morgan Bans Dana Loesch From His Show Following Twitter Spat: ‘Show Some Bloody Respect’ 324 Comments
- ‘War in London Tonight’: Rioters Clash With Police Over ‘Cleaver’ Terror Attack (Plus: Read About Hero Mother Who Reportedly Confronted Killers) 293 Comments
- There’s a Major Twist in the Story About a High School Student’s Lesbian Relationship With a Minor Read More
- Is the Boy Scouts’ Gay Amendment the ‘Beginning of the End’ for the Group? (Plus: Tell Us Where You Stand) Read More
- MSNBC Hosts Martin Bashir and Chris Hayes Claim London Machete Killers Aren’t Terrorists: ‘These Are Just Murderers’ 119 Comments
- Did You Catch the Possibly Policy-Changing Ft. Hood Reference in Obama’s Terror Speech? Read More
- Dem. Rep. Apologizes for Attending ‘Racist, Anti-Semitic and Homophobic’ Speech Read More
- Have You Had Scotch at a NJ TGI Friday’s Lately? You Might Have Been Drinking Rubbing Alcohol Read More
- Venezuelan President Blames Toilet Paper Shortage on the Rich Read More
- This Terrible Chart Shows the Change in Food Stamp Participation Over the Last 10 Years Read More
- Disney Makes Absolutely Mortifying Photoshop Mistake Read More
- Trey Gowdy at It Again — This Time with a Jack Bauer Reference! 116 Comments
- How 3D Printing Technology Created a Special Part for Baby’s Windpipe and Saved His Life Read More
- 6 Fascinating Spy Gadgets You’ll Probably Want (and Can Have) After Seeing Read More
- How Would a 3D-Printed Shotgun Slug Hold Up? Here’s the Test Read More
- The Incredible Role Facebook Played in the Aftermath of Devastating Okla. Tornado Read More
- Tech Company Demonstrates Remote Disabling of a ‘Smart Gun’ 131 Comments
- FDA warns of infections tied to Tennessee pharmacy
- Barrick fined $16m for Pascua-Lama violations
- Kid Rock, Rolling Stones on scalping, summer tours
- Arellano Felix drug cartel figure pleads guilty
- Ex-Guatemala president extradited to US
- Obama: Sexual assault threatens trust in military
- Iran presidential candidate vows to resist West
- Berlusconi looms large in Rome mayor election