U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack visited Michigan this week as part of a Rural Tour that has him crisscrossing the country hosting community forums to discuss efforts by the Obama administration to rebuild and revitalize rural America.
In the ninth forum Vilsack has led since being sworn in as secretary, he discussed how USDA is working to promote a sustainable food supply, how farms can help mitigate climate change and detailed the administration's efforts to stimulate Michigan's $71.3 billion agriculture industry.
Speaking at the Soil and Water Conservation Society's annual meeting in Dearborn, Vilsack announced $18.4 million in conservation innovation grants to help farmers and ranchers sustain natural resources.
So far, 89 Michigan farmers have been awarded a total of $8.3 million in loans to purchase land, livestock, farm equipment and other agricultural supplies.
"To rebuild and revitalize our country, President Obama and I want those affected by decisions made in Washington to participate in the process of developing innovative solutions and charting a path for rural America," Vilsack said.
Vilsack is scheduled to lead Rural Tour events over the coming weeks and months in Alaska, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.