“It’s time for us to have an adult conversation with folks in rural America,” Vilsack [U.S. Secretary of Agriculture] said in a speech at a forum sponsored by the Farm Journal.
I would love to have some “adult conversations” with Secretary Vilsack, Secretary Solis, Lisa Jackson and President Obama. Come on over. We, rural America, are talking, some might even say we are talking very loudly. However, the majority of us feel like no one is listening.
Secretary Solis, I would love to know why the Department of Labor has not responded to the Oregon Congressional Delegation. They asked the DOL over 6 months ago about their underhanded tactics & lack of due process in the Oregon Hot Goods Case. Congressman Walden has even made a plea on the House floor. Secretary Solis, we are adults and we deserve answers.
Lisa Jackson, where to begin, you have so many issues and regulations to oversee. You control one the largest agencies in the United States government, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Currently the definition of point & non-point pollution is up for discussion in the Supreme Court and the EPA. The current definition and Best Management Practices are sufficient enough. I know you have a lot of pressure on you to expand the reach of the Clean Water Act to waterways beyond navigable and into our farm ditches. Lisa, we’re willing to talk to you about these issues, please come see us, we can also talk about pesticides!
President Obama, I think you need to be at these discussions as well because you are the Commander-in-Chief. You appointed these guys, we need you on the side of America’s farmers & ranchers, the heart of rural America. Also while you here, a nice discussion about the future of the federal estate tax would be great. There’s only about 98% of all farms, that are 100% family farms that the death tax will affect.
Back to you, Secretary Vilsack, I thought you were the spokesperson for rural America and Agriculture. During this same speech you referred to rural America as “becoming less and less relevant.” You also
…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.
Secretary, these are issues we are facing on a daily basis on our farms and ranches and we need your support not your criticism. You really confuse me because just 4 months ago you were praising rural America and being the heart of this country. I agree we need to do our part of telling our story, but having an advocate high up on the chain would not hurt us either.
Rural America, the farmers and ranchers, who provide food on your table want to have real, adult conversations. Washington D.C. we promise to continue to do our best to tell our stories if you quit making decisions that affect and insult us without consulting us.
We would really appreciate an adult conversation.
***UPDATE: USDA Virtual Office Hours, join Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this Monday, December 17 at 3:30 p.m. EDT for a live Twitter chat on the important role of rural America to the national and global economy, increasing agricultural opportunities in U.S. communities, and the importance of passing a five-year Farm Bill.