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Partnership is Key at Idaho Jobs Forum

Job Forum Idaho“They want our Idaho onions” commented panelist Margie Watson, referencing exporting onions to Dubai for the blooming colossal onion for a steakhouse in Dubai, “but the paperwork is staggering” further discussing the challenges if the load of produce has to stop anywhere before it gets to its destination.  This discussion around expanding Idaho exports was just one of several points brought up by the over 80 participates on ways to create jobs during Idaho’s Rural Job and Economic Growth Forum on January 14th at the College of Western Idaho campus in Nampa, Idaho.

U.S. Representative Walt Minnick helped kick off the forum by announcing funding for USDA Forest service, creating jobs while supporting forest health.  Idaho Lieutenant Governor, Brad Little, stressed the banks inability to take risk due to capital concerns, emphasizing the importance of USDA loan guarantees to the economic recovery.

Gallatin Public Affairs, President and Partner, Marc Johnson, summarized the many key steps to jobs and business creation with a few key points:

  1. Partnerships and collaboration, however it happens, is the name of the game.
  2. Businesses have to fully utilize federal and state programs available, including but not limited to, USDA Rural Development.
  3. Importance of job training and education in rural areas while still being able to hold down a good job.
  4. Ways to incentivize the green jobs and utilization of natural resources in doing so. As we reinvent the way we do energy, rural areas must be prepared so they participate in those jobs.

There were several common threads throughout the discussion – innovation, education, financing, and partnering. However, it is partnering that seemed to be the most important because most, if not all, the ideas presented also involved partnering.  “No one can do it by themselves, need everyone pulling in the same direction” commented Marc Johnson, a statement supported by Idaho Rural Development State Director, Wally Hedrick, “Partnering is key to everything and USDA needs to support the National Rural Development Councils, like Idaho’s Rural Partnership, who can bring all the partners together at one table.”

The importance of partnerships is evidenced by this Job and Economic Growth forum.  The forum was hosted by Rural Development, Farm Service Agency, Gallatin Public Affairs in cooperation with Idaho Rural Partnership and College of Western Idaho with participation of a variety of business across several industries, state agencies, economic development personnel, educators, and elected officials.

For those unable to attend, but interested in making job creation and economic development suggestions, ideas and suggestions can be e-mailed to with Idaho Jobs and Economic Growth Forum” in the subject line.  A video of the discussion will be posted at

Kerrie T. Hurd
Public Information Coordinator,
Idaho Rural Development

To learn more, go to the Rural Development and FSA Job Roundtables Schedule, and the News Release, “USDA to Host Roundtables on Jobs, Economic Growth

USDA Rural Development and Farm Service Agency Hold Arkansas Jobs Forums

Rural Development and Farm Service Agency staff in Arkansas joined forces to conduct two Jobs Forums across the State.  These Forums were a follow-up to a national Jobs Forum held in December by President Obama.

The first Forum was held Wednesday, January 13, 2009, in the eastern Delta town of Forrest City, Arkansas.  The second Forum was held today in the western part of the state in Russellville.  More than 70 people attended the two days of meetings.

Panel members and the audience in both Forum’s consisted of representatives from the fields of banking, labor, manufacturing, economic development authorities, educational institutions, Mayors, County Judges, State Senators and State Representatives, the Office of Congressman Marion Berry, the Office of Congressman John Bozeman, the Office of Senator Blanche Lincoln, and the Office of Senator Mark Pryor.

Lawrence McCullough, Rural Development State Director, and Linda Newkirk, Farm Service Agency State Director, welcomed the diverse group to the Forums and urged everyone to participate.    The Forums were both opened with U. S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan’s comments regarding the Community Forum of jobs and economic growth.

The entire forum was captured on audio, video and pictures.    We collected many recommendations and suggestions from a variety of partners and stakeholders during the forum.  A report of all the information gathered will be submitted to USDA Secretary Vilsack and President Obama.

Lawrence McCullough, Rural Development State Director, making opening remarks at an Arkansas Jobs Forum.

Lawrence McCullough, Rural Development State Director, making opening remarks at an Arkansas Jobs Forum.

Submitted by Karen Petrus
Administrative Programs Director
Arkansas State Office

Technology, “Green Jobs” Spotlighted at USDA Jobs Roundtable in Tennessee

With unemployment rates above ten percent across the region, families and businesses in West Tennessee are especially hard hit by the economic downturn. Last Thursday, business and other community leaders met federal, state and local economic development officials at the University of Tennessee Extension Experiment Station in Jackson to discuss what can be done to speed recovery and create long-term economic stability across the state. Read more »