In Washington, D.C., the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a reorganization that elevates the Rural Development agencies to report directly to the secretary of agriculture, stands up a newly-named Farm Production and Conservation mission area and creates an undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs. Nearly 85 percent of America’s persistently impoverished counties are in rural areas and the vitality of small towns is crucial to the future of the agricultural economy.
A new undersecretary will be selected for the Farm Production and Conservation mission to provide a simplified one-stop shop for USDA’s primary customers, the men and women farming, ranching and foresting across America. The Farm Service Agency, Risk Management Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service will align under the domestically-oriented undersecretary.
And, in recognition of the ever-increasing importance of international trade to American agriculture, the Foreign Agricultural Service will be moved under the new undersecretary for trade.