Hosted by Michigan Farm Bureau at Robinette’s Apple Haus and Winery in Grand Rapids, he explained the website is a new interactive one-stop tool for producers, with multiple features to be added over the coming months, to allow users to make appointments with USDA offices, file forms, and apply for USDA programs. The website gathers together the three agencies that comprise USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation mission area: the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Risk Management Agency.
“Many farmers are out in their fields using equipment that is connected to satellite and GPS technology, yet when they need to interact with USDA, they have to stop, fill out a paper form, and fax or carry it to their local office. That is a real digital divide,” Perdue said. “Our staff is friendly, and they love to see farmers in person, but they know that time is valuable. Producers are working hard to make their farms profitable, so these tools will help get the paperwork done without taking a big chunk out of the day to fill out forms.”
After announcing the website, Perdue touched on several points of emphasis regarding agriculture from the current administration, telling the crowd that federal regulations must be curtailed for the good of the country.
“I’m really here to listen,” he said. “If we’re going to have an effective ag program across the country, I need to hear from you (about) the impediments, practices and regulations that are impeding your productivity.”
He went on to assure farmers that the Trump administration is serious about reforming policies that he says have hurt American agriculture.
“The day I was signed in, (Trump) signed an executive order over rural prosperity in agriculture,” Perdue said. “He asked me to chair it and look at all the ways we can make agriculture stronger in America. I presented that report to him at the American Farm Bureau Federation convention in Nashville. The great news is that this document is not to be put on a shelf. If you know anything about Trump, know that when he signs an executive order, it’s not an executive suggestion. He meant business and he means for us to carry out those things.”
Perdue also spoke of labor and trade issues, noting that we now have “a free trade agreement that doesn’t allow dairy and poultry and those kinds of things to go north while they enjoy the benefits of our consumption economy here in the U.S.”