COLORADO SPRINGS -- Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy may be resigning under a cloud of scandal, but you wouldn't know it from the praise given by ag bankers who heard Mr. Espy's off-the-cuff speech about what's wrong with rural America.

"I was pleased to see that he threw the canned speech away and just basically gave us what his thoughts and comments were," said Henry K. Brandt, senior vice president of Peoples Bank of Maryland, in Denton, Md.

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