President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in the Rose Garden of the White House, on the national security and humanitarian crisis on the southern border of the United States. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

Washington, D.C.: USDA reports 2.15.2019 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued the following statement regarding President Donald J. Trump’s signing of legislation that funds the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and declaration of a national emergency at the southern border:

Acting Deputy Commissioner Ronald D. Vitiello visits the Border Wall Construction Site near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry as eight different prototypes of the Border Wall were unveiled at the U.S. border with Mexico. October 26 2017. Photos Courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Taken by Yesica Uvina

“I am pleased that Congress has passed, and President Trump has signed, funding for USDA for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2019. We will be moving at full speed on all of our responsibilities, making good on our motto by doing right and feeding everyone. Since Congress did not act to protect our southern border, the President has also declared a national emergency, which helps him fulfill a clear promise to protect our national security interests. He is exercising his Constitutional authority, as presidents from both parties have done many times in the past.

“Even with the passage of the appropriations bill, Congress still has unfinished business in areas of great concern for USDA and the customers we serve. Farmers and ranchers were battered last year by a series of monumental storms, robbing them of their livelihoods and inflicting damage well beyond the financial risks they normally assume in their operations. These are the men and women who dedicate their lives to feeding, fueling, and clothing this nation, and we cannot turn our backs on them when they need assistance. Just as importantly, another devastating wildfire season left our Forest Service badly in need of replenished funds to fight fires, remove excess fuels, and conduct necessary forest management. Without these resources, we risk falling behind in forest maintenance and inviting even more severe seasons in the future. I will continue to work with the President and the Congress to address these critical issues.”