American farmers, ranchers and producers have helped lead the United States’ economic recovery by shattering agricultural trade records, creating jobs at home and ensuring affordable food for U.S. families, he said.

“We are all fortunate to be living through one of the most productive eras in history for U.S. agriculture,” said Vilsack. “American farmers and ranchers are seeing record sales of farm goods abroad and looking forward to some of the best net incomes in decades. U.S. agricultural exports for fiscal 2011 are on course to enjoy a record $47.5 billion trade surplus.”

The increased productivity is creating employment across a variety of sectors, including transportation and storage. Moreover, because American agriculture produces 86 percent of the food we consume, U.S. families spend less at the grocery store than do consumers in much of the rest of the world.

He also suggested that House members who have been demanding massive cuts in government spending should back off and give some time for changes to be made.

“The president made an important point about shared sacrifice and shared opportunities when he met with the governors earlier this week,” he told reporters in the press briefing. “Here’s my point: You’ve got to give me time to manage it. If you try to stick into six months a solution to budget problems that have accumulated over the course of 10, 15 or 20 years, mistakes are going to get made.”

The administration’s call for a freeze on federal spending in the new fiscal year, he said, would give agencies time to figure out how to make changes in an orderly manner without creating more problems than the reductions will solve.

The Commodity Classic is a joint effort of the American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association and National Sorghum Producers. Besides a near-record number of farmers, this year’s Classic had 860 exhibitors at the trade show in the Tampa Convention Center.