Secretary Vilsack, accompanied by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, held a community forum in Wisconsin today to discuss economic development in rural America.
Vilsack met with local organic dairymen and Gov. Jim Doyle just before the Rural Tour forum at a county fair near La Crosse. Enjoying a bratwurst from the 4-H booth with the dairy farmers, local fair visitors and Gov. Doyle, Vilsack was able to discuss issues facing dairy in Wisconsin before heading to the forum.
Later in the day, he and Secretary LaHood led a productive conversation on the fairgrounds with a packed crowd. They discussed issues facing rural economic development, including new construction of rural roads and bridges, and emphasized an increased focus on providing broadband access to rural America. He also stressed a desire to involve Americans in the discussion.
“To overcome challenges and be successful in a new, 21st century economy, President Obama has asked that we reach out to people in rural communities across the country to listen, learn and facilitate problem-solving,” said Vilsack. “It is critically important to hear the thoughts, concerns and stories about each community’s vision for its future and to collect ideas about how USDA can better serve these communities.”
Attendees were very forthcoming with questions; many were interested to hear news on “USDA Organic” certified dairy, and the role of the Obama Administration in assisting rural Wisconsinites.
The Rural Tour continues this weekend in Virginia and on Monday in Louisiana; be sure to read updates from throughout the events today on the Rural Tour Twitter feed.