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Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack told a meeting of journalists that there was a silent crisis in rural America, according to the Kansas Farmer. “We have statistics that show 90% of the persistent poverty in America is in rural areas,” Vilsack said, but while there is an infrastructure to serve urban places, rural communities are left wanting. Vilsack “said it is useless for lawmakers to continue on the same path they have been treading for the last 70 years,” according to the publication.

“We can’t persist with the same farm policies that have brought us to where we are today,” Vilsack said. “And yet it seems to always come back to just that.”

Vilsack promoted a new economic model for rural America with the expansion of broadband access, more biofuel production and expanded recreation.

“We have to move the rhetoric beyond direct payments and subsidies,” Vilsack said. “We need a broad discussion about the fate of rural America. We need to let our urban and suburban friends know that their lives are linked to rural America.”

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