February 23, 2023

SOTU address highlights

SOTU address highlights

By: Sydney Sheffield

President Joe Biden recently spoke to the American people and Congress through the State of the Union Address. President Biden conveyed a message of bipartisanship as well as discussing his legislative agenda. Job growth, inflation, and the COVID-19 pandemic were the themes of the address.

“Two years ago, the economy was reeling. I stand here tonight, after we’ve created, with the help of many people in this room, 12 million new jobs — more jobs created in two years than any President has created in four years — because of you all, because of the American people,” President Biden said. “Two years ago — and two years ago, COVID had shut down — our businesses were closed, our schools were robbed of so much. And today, COVID no longer controls our lives. And two years ago, our democracy faced its greatest threat since the Civil War. And today, though bruised, our democracy remains unbowed and unbroken. As we gather here tonight, we’re writing the next chapter in the great American story — a story of progress and resilience.”

The United States Department of Agriculture released a press release prior to the address, describing President Biden’s administration’s achievements in the agriculture sector. Some of these include:

·      The Farm and Food Workers Relief Grant Program making beneficiary payments to reach at least 1 million farmworkers, meatpacking workers, and front-line grocery workers who incurred pandemic-related health and safety costs

·      More than $1 billion in investments for food processing, distribution, and aggregation infrastructure, including funding to expand and diversify independent meat and poultry processing capacity and addressing the credit access gap for meat and poultry processing projects

·      Providing nearly $800 million in financial assistance to more than 13,000 distressed farmers and plans to aid thousands more in 2023

“President Biden has passed a historic economic agenda to rebuild our infrastructure, supply chains, and manufacturing and reduce costs for families,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “As part of these historic achievements, USDA is working to build the economy from the bottom up and the middle out and, transform our food system so that it works for everyone and creates economic opportunity for all of our farmers, ranchers, and foresters, not just the few.”

While American agriculture was not one of the highlights of the speech, President Biden did mention a piece of legislation that was signed into law, reducing shipping costs by 90% for farmers and producers. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) celebrated this in a statement, “NPPC supports the Biden administration and the United States Department of Agriculture’s work to remove unfair barriers to trade to enable more market opportunities for American pork farmers. Open trade and investment policies have made the U.S. pork industry more competitive internationally.”

Read the full State of the Union Address here.