The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens
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Vilsack, Merrigan traveling on opposite sides of U.S.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is on the West Coast this week promoting President Barack Obama’s jobs proposal, while Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan is touring farms impacted by recent disasters in New England and promoting local agriculture projects.

In Sacramento, Calif. today, Vilsack led a White House Business Council roundtable to hear directly from business leaders about their ideas on how to grow the economy, and afterward spoke about the American Jobs Act at the port of West Sacramento.

“In California, this act will provide a tax cut for over 710,000 businesses, support the jobs of 37, 300 teachers and first responders and immediately provide over 51,500 construction workers a job improving highways and other critical infrastructure. A typical household in California, with a median income of around $56,000, will receive a tax cut of around $1,740,” Vilsack said according to a USDA news release. Vilsack is scheduled to make appearances in Portland on Tuesday and Seattle on Wednesday.

In Sacramento, Vilsack also joined local leaders and nutrition advocates to encourage Americans to “Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables,” the first themed message supporting the new MyPlate food icon.

Vilsack also announced that more than 4,000 organizations joining the MyPlate Nutrition Communicators Network – double the number of partners announced in July. Vilsack urged partners across the nation to keep the enthusiasm and momentum going by participating in the MyPlate Fruits and Veggies Video Challenge.

Merrigan is traveling today and Tuesday throughout Vermont to view the situation on farms in local agriculture institutions.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, she will travel throughout Massachusetts visiting farms and USDA projects. On Wednesday she is scheduled to meet with Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., and other state officials in Medway and tour five farms.

Merrigan is a Massachusetts native, raised in Greenfield.