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Indiana Observes 150 Years for USDA

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Indiana this week held its own commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the United States Department of Agriculture. USDA was dubbed The People’s Department in 1862 by President Abraham Lincoln.

Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman was a guest at the event and paid tribute to the Indiana staff of USDA.

“I’m just honored to be here with so many partners in agriculture. You are indeed partners in progress and I want to thank you for all of the great work you do every day to help us move the state forward. As you know, agriculture is one of our state’s strongest economic engines.”

Skillman noted that engine contributes $26 billion annually to the Indiana economy while supporting about 17 percent of the total Hoosier workforce.

She also said the partnership that exists between the state and USDA makes for stronger and more effective service to the rural community, “and that’s whether we’re preserving our natural resources through conservation issues, or just helping farmers with their daily challenges, or working to improve the quality of life in our rural communities. And as you know about 75 percent of Indiana is considered rural.”

Jane Hardisty, State Conservationist at the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Julia Wickard, Executive Director of the Indiana Farm Service Agency moderated the event. Wickard said many changes have occurred over the past 150 years at USDA, but one thing has remained consistent.

“And that is service to the Indiana and American farmer, making sure its providing that service to the farmer, getting the information they need, getting them the tools they need to make their operations at least profitable and provide that safety net. So I think we’ve seen certainly the department evolve, but I think at the end of the day it’s about providing customer service.”[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/05/Indiana-USDA-150-celebration.mp3|titles=Indiana USDA 150 celebration]

Hardisty told HAT the future for Indiana conservation is the brightest she has seen in her 38 years at USDA. Hear more of her comments:[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/05/Jane-Hardisty-NRCS.mp3|titles=Jane Hardisty NRCS]

Listen for Becky Skillman’s address and a proclamation from Governor Daniels:[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/05/Becky-Skillman-on-USDA-150.mp3|titles=Becky Skillman on USDA 150]

Julia Wickard talks about the history of USDA and the future of her agency, the Farm Service Agency:[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/05/Julia-Wickard-Indiana-FSA.mp3|titles=Julia Wickard Indiana FSA]