Today, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack gave a speech at John Deere Des Moines Works. It was a big deal. The kind of big deal that came with assorted company leaders, USDA officials, secret service agents, politicians, and the press.
To make it even crazier, this was actually our second attempt to put an event together. The first one had to be rescheduled because the President asked the Secretary to return to Washington on short notice.
Yep. The President of the United States was rearranging my calendar.*
Plus, I got to sit in on a breakout session with company leaders and the Secretary while they talked about various hot topics. You know, little things like LightSquared, conservation, technology, and sustainability.
And did I mention that i met honest-to-goodness Secret Service Agents?!
The Secretary's speech was interesting. He mentioned that the average age of a farmer in the US is 57 years old according to census data, and around 30% of farmers are over the age of 65.*** Not surprising given the general population trends, I suppose. He also talked about the need for transition planning and ways to support young farmers getting started.
I didn't see a transcript on the USDA site yet, but I'm looking forward to reading it. And, well, here's hoping the rest of the week is a little bit calmer.
* Not, of course, that he realized it or anything, but it's still not something I ever thought would happen to me.
** My only speaking part was to say "Good morning, my name is Tara" but again… not something I thought i'd ever do.
*** I am 95% certain it's 65 and not 60- I'll double-check when the transcript is posted.