Food during my early years was a very difficult issue for me. I grew up in an addictive family. My mother had serious problems with alcohol and prescription drugs. I was an overweight kid. I can remember back in those days there weren't the strategies that there are today to deal with those issues.
Food is a fairly significant aspect of my life. I have struggled mightily with food. With my weight. And I'm conscious of it. So I have a sensitivity to people who struggle with their weight.
I don't know if there is a Democrat who necessarily doesn't believe health care is a right instead of privilege. There is a significant between us and the Republican Party on that issue.
I don't know of a Democrat - whether they're a conservative, a centrist or a liberal Democrat - that doesn't think that it's important to have quality jobs that pay decent wages so that families can support themselves, so that they can have the dignity of being able to afford health care, put money aside for pension, buy a home.
If you think of what food is, it's the energy we use to do our daily work. I want people to know about the USDA. This is a very important department. It's not fully appreciated as such.
In his first year in office, President Obama pulled us back from the brink of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression and worked to lay a new foundation for economic growth. The president identified three key strategies to build that lasting prosperity: innovation, investment, and education.
In the past 40 years, the United States lost more than a million farmers and ranchers. Many of our farmers are aging. Today, only nine percent of family farm income comes from farming, and more and more of our farmers are looking elsewhere for their primary source of income.
It is critical to develop a biofuel industry powered by feedstocks produced in every corner of the country, in addition to the Midwest. That is why USDA has established five regional research centers working on science necessary to ensure profitable biofuels can be produced from a diverse range of feedstocks.
Let us build a 21st-century rural economy of cutting-edge companies and technologies that lead us to energy and food security. Such an investment will revitalize rural America, re-establish our moral leadership on climate security and eliminate our addiction to foreign oil.
Local and regional food systems are about opportunity.
President Obama's fight for rural America is personal. He was raised by a single mom and grandparents from Kansas. He hails from a farming state, Illinois.
Proper school nutrition must be complemented by activities outside of the cafeteria. The decisions parents make to keep their kids healthy are critical in fighting this battle on the home front.
Somewhere between 50 to 60 percent of the food you eat has been touched by immigrant hands, and it is fair to say some of them are not here as they should be here. But if you didn't have these folks, you would be spending a lot more - three, four or five times more - for food, or we would have to import food and have all the food security risks.
Technology has allowed us to have more drought-resistant crops. The spotty nature of drought, the spotty nature of rains can sometimes result in better yields than anticipated.
The food pyramid is very complicated. It doesn't give you as much info in a quick glance as the plate does.
The lack of access to proper nutrition is not only fueling obesity, it is leading to food insecurity and hunger among our children.
The rise of childhood obesity has placed the health of an entire generation at risk.
There are ways we can go do a better job of educating young moms and dads about the vital role they have as the child's first teacher. I think there are ways in which we can partner with local school districts and states to do a better job to provide nutrition options at school.
We know that there are significant health benefits from consuming more fruits and vegetables, and that's an opportunity for us to sort of move away from some of the meals that we've been preparing in the past.
When you've paid your debt to society, you need to be reconnected and re-engaged in society.
You know, rural Americans are a special people. Their labor puts food on our table and fuel in our gas tanks. Their service in our military sets a powerful example of leadership, honor and sacrifice. Their spirit of community inspires us all.