This week, at my request, USDA Rural Development and Farm Service Agency staff kicked off a series of meetings intended to gather ideas about ways to spark job creation and economic growth in rural America. This request is a direct result of the Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth that President Obama hosted at the White House earlier this month.
Because of the importance of this effort, I have asked that these meetings be held in every state, and in territories including Guam and Puerto Rico. We intend to complete all of them by February 1 and provide meeting reports directly to the White House. Rural Development State Directors along with Farm Service Agency State Executive Directors, are the hosts and those invited to participate include business owners, members of the community, state and local officials, union representatives, non-profit service providers and economists. The objective is clear: discuss steps that can be taken to make the economy grow and put Americans back to work.
All of these meetings are public events and anyone with an interest in boosting the economy is welcome to attend. Each State and Executive Director will prepare a report on the meeting in their state and the reports will be provided to the White House.
As I travel across the country, I continue to meet Americans who face great challenges. It’s important to not only find a way to provide them with opportunities, it is necessary to restore their hope. President Obama believes in nurturing strong, robust, and vibrant rural communities, but the best way to do that is to find a way to provide those living in rural towns with meaningful, financially rewarding jobs. As a former governor and mayor I know how important this effort is. I hope you’ll participate.
To learn more, go to the Rural Development Job Roundtables Schedule and the News Release “USDA to Host Roundtables on Jobs, Economic Growth.” More meetings are being scheduled so if you don’t see your state listed, check back or contact your State Rural Development or FSA office for more information.