Despite thousands of acres of western Iowa farmland being under floodwaters, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says he’s very optimistic when it comes to Iowa’s largest industry — agriculture. Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, says it’s shaping up to be a very good year for farming.

“This year should be the best ever for American agricultural exports,” Vilsack says. “They’ll top $137-billion dollars and support over one-million American jobs. At the same time, we’re looking to expand opportunities for producers to sell their products regionally and in their own communities. That helps keep wealth right here in America and creates good paying jobs in our rural communities.”

Vilsack says many areas of the country are seeing success with the “Buy Local” campaign. With the help of technology and science, he says farmers and livestock produces continue to make great strides in their professions.

“Finally, we’re working to drive innovation through cutting edge research,” Vilsack says. “In the past few years alone, USDA has helped reveal the genetic blueprints for a host of plants and animals, including corn, soybeans, pigs and turkeys, to help combat diseases and increase productivity. This builds on our long-standing partnership with American farmers which has helped double, triple and even quadruple yields of major crops during a lifetime.”

Vilsack adds, U.S.D.A. will continue to support good markets and innovation so the ag industry remains strong.

By Karla James