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Vilsack: 'Thank a farmer that you don't need to be a farmer'Vilsack: 'Thank a farmer that you don't need to be a farmer'

Ag Secretary Vilsack opened the White House Rural Forum with these comments.

John Vogel

October 6, 2016

1 Min Read

U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, first chairman of the White House Rural Council, opened this week’s White House Rural Forum at Penn State University. Speaking directly to state and federal officials, farm organization leaders and the media, he reminded them of where their food comes from and that they didn’t have to produce it themselves. Here are excerpts from his talk:


“Every single person in this room has had the luxury of not being a farmer because we have delegated the responsibility of feeding our families and ourselves to someone we don't even know — tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people we don't even know. They do an incredible extraordinary job. They’re the best in the world at it.

“These farmers are the best in the world — the best ever in the world. They have freed the rest of us up to be bankers and lawyers and teachers and professors and carpenters and bricklayers and any job in the economy. [Every economy] starts with a functioning agricultural economy. If you don't have that, you don't have a complex economy.”

“Rural America provides so much to the rest of the country, and all of us are ambassadors. Every single person in this room that cares about rural America is an ambassador of rural America. We have a responsibility to speak passionately about the contributions that farmers make to the rest of the country.”

About the Author(s)

John Vogel

Editor, American Agriculturist

For more than 38 years, John Vogel has been a Farm Progress editor writing for farmers from the Dakota prairies to the Eastern shores. Since 1985, he's been the editor of American Agriculturist – successor of three other Northeast magazines.

Raised on a grain and beef farm, he double-majored in Animal Science and Ag Journalism at Iowa State. His passion for helping farmers and farm management skills led to his family farm's first 209-bushel corn yield average in 1989.

John's personal and professional missions are an integral part of American Agriculturist's mission: To anticipate and explore tomorrow's farming needs and encourage positive change to keep family, profit and pride in farming.

John co-founded Pennsylvania Farm Link, a non-profit dedicated to helping young farmers start farming. It was responsible for creating three innovative state-supported low-interest loan programs and two "Farms for the Future" conferences.

His publications have received countless awards, including the 2000 Folio "Gold Award" for editorial excellence, the 2001 and 2008 National Association of Ag Journalists' Mackiewicz Award, several American Agricultural Editors' "Oscars" plus many ag media awards from the New York State Agricultural Society.

Vogel is a three-time winner of the Northeast Farm Communicators' Farm Communicator of the Year award. He's a National 4-H Foundation Distinguished Alumni and an honorary member of Alpha Zeta, and board member of Christian Farmers Outreach.

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