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USDA had a successful 2019

Its multifaceted efforts help agriculture thrive

As 2019 drew to close, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue shared his assessment of how well the department he leads succeeded in meeting its goals this year. He has good reason to be proud of its record because the U.S. Department of Agriculture accomplished much this year.

“At USDA it is our honor to work on behalf of America’s farmers, ranchers, foresters and producers,” Perdue said. “This was a tough year with historic weather damage and unjustified trade retaliation. Our goal was to ‘Do Right and Feed Everyone’ by implementing much needed farm bill programs, enacting President Trump’s Support Package for Farmers and continuing to feed and clothe this nation and the world.”

Here are some of the USDA’s success stories that were highlighted by the secretary:

Trade: Facilitating the sale of American agricultural products internationally was a top agenda item at the USDA. Important progress took place. Major trade pacts moved forward including the important U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and a new trade deal with Japan that eliminates most tariffs on the import of U.S. food and agricultural products. At year’s end President Donald Trump announced that China had agreed to increase substantially its purchase of American farm products. In pursuit of more robust exports across the globe, the USDA undertook six major trade missions that generated substantial new sales.

Customer service: Perdue said he wants better interaction between department personnel and the people it serves. With that in mind he has traveled to all 50 states and held more than 220 town hall meetings and roundtable discussions. His mission is to understand more fully how employees at all levels of the USDA can improve customer satisfaction.

Support package for farmers: Disruptions in trade patterns occurred while trade negotiations unfolded that hurt the nation’s farmers. Trump authorized the USDA to implement assistance programs for them. That made possible aid amounting to nearly $16 billion.

ReConnect Program_ The USDA provided $600 million to facilitate the expansion of rural broadband connections.

Regulatory reform_ The USDA participated in the administration-wide effort to make government regulations less burdensome to businesses. The USDA eliminated three regulations for every new one imposed. That was especially helpful to farmers and other small businesses.

The Messenger applauds Perdue and his team at USDA for a year of major successes. The department’s excellent track record in 2019 sets the stage for even more important achievements in 2020 and beyond. Given the importance of agriculture in the Hawkeye State, that’s very welcome news.

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