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Public Statements

150th Anniversary of the Department of Agriculture

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mrs. EMERSON. Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the 150th anniversary of the Department of Agriculture. It was 150 years ago to this day that President Abraham Lincoln established the USDA.

As Americans, we have been blessed with the most successful agricultural economy on earth. U.S. consumers spend, on average, less than 10 percent of their disposable income on food--the lowest of any developed nation in the world. In Europe, consumers spend double that percentage and, in developing countries, consumers often spend more than half of their income on food. As Americans, we can be proud of our producers and the role our agriculture department has played in making advancements in the agricultural sector. Successes in agriculture lift all aspects of our economy.

American agriculture's success has been fueled largely by the hard work of our farmers and ranchers. They withstand incredible challenges on a daily basis to provide our nation with a safe, abundant and affordable food supply. More and more, our producers will be depended upon to feed not only Americans here at home, but a growing world population. I am confident our producers, our research institutions and the private sector will be able to harness innovation to meet the daunting challenge of feeding a world population that is expected to grow from around 7 billion to over 9 billion by the year 2050.

Agriculture will continue to represent the foundation of the U.S. economy. I am proud of what agriculture has been able to accomplish over the last 150 years with the support of USDA. It is with great respect for the farmers and ranchers in Southern Missouri I represent, and those in industry and our research institutions, that I recognize agriculture's great success story over the last 150 years.

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