Bozeman Daily Chronicle: Hopeful future for agriculture, officials say

Agriculture in the United States continues to be on track for its best export year ever in 2011, Kathleen Merrigan, deputy secretary of agriculture, told a crowd at the Strand Union Building Saturday.

“American agriculture is helping to lead the nation’s recovery,” she said. “We forecast a strong performance in the agricultural sector in 2011.”

Merrigan was the keynote speaker at a small business workshop that focused on agriculture and was sponsored by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont.

Merrigan, who oversees many of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s programs, spoke Saturday about the national role of farmers and ranchers.

“The average farmer feeds 155 people,” she said. “When agriculture benefits and rural America benefits, society benefits.”

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