On an announcement last Thursday, May 11, US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the creation of an undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs in the USDA. The move is part of the department’s goal of responding to the “increasing importance of international trade to American agriculture.” Along with this is the formation of a Farm Production and Conservation mission area. Furthermore, the department’s Rural Development agencies are now to report to the secretary of agriculture, in line with its primary aim of promoting rural prosperity.
The Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Undersecretary
Twenty percent of the value of production in the US goes toward food and agricultural exports, every dollar accounting for $1.27 in business activity. The exports also serve as a driver of economy in the country by supporting approximately 8,000 jobs in the land of the free. In order to retain its stance in the global trade as a leader, the country sees the need to reorganize the agencies by placing the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), the Farm Service Agency (FSA), and the Risk Management Agency (RMA) in one structure under the undersecretary of trade so their focus can shift more to the important aspects of foreign markets as it relates to American trade.
The Farm Production and Conservation Undersecretary
All domestic agricultural issues will be handled by the undersecretary of Farm Production and Conservation. This wing of the department will serve as “one-stop shop for USDA’s primary customers” – the farmers, ranchers, and foresters throughout the country.
Promoting Rural Prosperity
Eighty-five percent of impoverished counties in America are located in the rurals. To address this issue, the USDA ensures that the people are fairly represented. With this goal, the rural development agencies of the department are then elevated to report directly to the secretary so problems are most adequately given attention and necessary solutions. The secretary believes in the importance of raising the economic health of small agricultural towns across the country, hence the necessary reform.
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