Saturday, September 12, 2009


From this...

To this.

The United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA, is but one teeny tiny little cog in the giant wheel and sounds innocuous enough. Never mind the Constitutionality of such an agency for the moment, what could possibly be bad about farming, right?

In theory, the USDA was originally supposed to develop and execute's policies on farming, agriculture, and food. According to Wikipedia, "It aims to meet the needs of farmers and ranchers, promote agricultural trade and production, work to assure food safety, protect natural resources, foster rural communities and end hunger in the United States and abroad."

OK, still sounds rather Innocent, eh. As with every other government agency, it has suffered extreme mission creep, ever-expanding budgets, ever-expanding bureaucracy, and ever-expanding staffs. In fact, the USDA now employs about a dozen of its own people for every farmer or rancher left in these United States. The concept of "public service", as in archaic mottoes such as "Caring for the land and serving the people", has long since disappeared from the department's lexicon.'s idea of "serving" the public these days amounts to sending farmers subsidies and even paying them money to not farm their land, while taking money hand over fist from Corporate Ag lobbyists.

Under Obama, who probably wishes to follow Robert Mugabe's brilliant path to redistributive agricultural success, has appointed former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack to be Secretary of Agriculture. So what, sez you? He's from Iowa. He should know all about agriculture. Actually, he hails from Pittsburgh and moved to Iowa as an adult to become (surprise!) a lawyer, riding on the coattails of his father-in-law's long established law firm. One can rest assured that the bottom of his wingtips never encountered a cow pie. But, no doubt, Tom became somewhat of an expert in agriculture driving by all those corn and bean fields on his way from Mount Pleasant to Cedar Rapids. I will leave it to true Iowan Ben to make the Vilsack jokes, using the "sack" part of his last name in conjunction with scatological references or parts of the male reproductive system.

At any rate, under the inspiring leadership of Vilsack and the Mighty Zero, the USDA is finally bringing the "service" back into public service. Before you get too excited and teary-eyed nostalgic, let's hear it straight from the horse' the modern USDA can and will serve the public's needs.


USDA Employees,

A few days
ago, I wrote to update you on employee involvement in United We Serve, the
President and the First Lady’s summer of service initiative. It continues to
inspire me that so many USDA employees across the nation are actively involved
in strengthening their communities through service.

Last week, I had the
opportunity to participate in an exciting service event as part of a Rural Tour
stop in Zanesville, Ohio. A group of interfaith leaders from the community
joined me to distribute Compact Fluorescent light bulbs to senior citizens
living in public housing. The bulbs were donated by Ohio families seeking to
offset their carbon footprints.

I also want to heartily commend DC Metro area employees for their
enthusiastic participation in the Office of Personnel Management’s summer food
drive, Feds Feed Families. Friday, August 28th marked the final collection day
for this government-wide food drive, and your generous donations of
non-perishable food helped ensure that the Capital Area Food Bank will stay well
supplied and continue its great work helping people in need throughout the DC

I want to encourage all USDA employees to participate in an
important survey about your volunteer activities this summer during United We
Serve. The results of this survey will help us determine how USDA answered
President Obama’s call to service, so please take just a couple of minutes to
follow this link and complete the survey.

Finally, Friday, September 11
has been designated by Congress and the President as a National Day of Service
and Remembrance. I would encourage all of you to do something on that day or
this weekend that honors the memory of those who lost their lives by serving

Thank you again for all that you are doing to serve Americans
every day, in every way.

With best wishes,

Secretary Tom Vilsack


Jim Fryar said...

Bawb; You really need to come over here to Oz to get a feel for really a progressive public service.

Departments which fail the most dismally are the ones that are seen to require an increase in budget and staff, so guess where the incentive lies.

I am still waiting to find out whether the efficient ones actually get a budget cut, efficiency hasn't occurred yet. Being an optimistic sort of person I am still waiting but not holding my breath.

Ben said...

Vilsack himself is joke enough, without me adding to it.