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FSA Director thanks farmers for commitment

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS -- In recognition of National Ag Day Tuesday, USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Indiana Executive Director Julia Wickard thanked farmers and others involved in agriculture for their hard work and commitment to their industry.

"Agriculture is an important part of our daily lives and is often taken for granted, but in these uncertain times, it should be remembered that American Agriculture is not only important for obvious reasons -- food, clothing and shelter, but the industry also plays an important part in homeland security," Wickard said.

Wickard refers to American Agriculture as "Homegrown Security." She added the U.S. agriculture sector is almost entirely under private ownership and counts for nearly one-fifth of the nation's economic activity.

"So, on National Ag Day, when we stop to thank farmers who work day in and day out to provide a safe, abundant and affordable food, fiber and fuel supply, we should also take a moment to thank these same individuals for serving as first responders and as the front line of defense in the effort to protect our food and water sources," she said.

According to Wickard, FSA's mission is to provide farmers with the federal farm commodity and credit support they need to insure they remain viable in an increasingly unpredictable and volatile global market.

Through more than 43 federal farm programs, FSA provides producers with an economic "safety net."

These programs, authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, stabilize farm income, assist agriculture producers to conserve natural resources, provide credit for farm ownership and operation and help producers recover from the effects of natural disasters.

FSA also maintains the USDA's feed, seed and fertilizer data, which uses geospatial information to maintain a detailed database on related storage facilities -- another important component in homeland security.

FSA understands and appreciates the amount of work that farmers do on a daily basis to produce the nation's supply of food, fiber and fuel. Wickard said she encouraged consumers to learn more about agriculture in their area and the people who produce.

"We never want to find ourselves dependent on a foreign food supply," she said. "And as long as farmers remain competitive in a global market and remain steadfast in protecting what's theirs, that won't happen."

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