USDA Rural Business-Cooperatives programs Administrator Judith Canales was the luncheon speaker earlier this week to a crowd of nearly 100 at the Rural Jobs, Rural Opportunities conference hosted by Nebraska Rural Development in Kearney. The conference was a follow up to the Rural Jobs Forum held early in January.
At the January Jobs Forum, the critical elements identified for Nebraska were the rural economy, cutting edge technology, youth retention, community investment, business education and training, the creation of better paying jobs, and financial resources offered by local, state and federal agencies. To move the discussion forward on these issues, panel experts at the March 29 conference discussed broadband, local foods, eco tourism, guaranteed loans/access to credit, business opportunities/business transition, renewable energy, revolving loan funds and local funding for community economic development.
Administrator Canales also led a roundtable discussion with economic developers and lenders at the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce, where the details and benefits of the Business and Industry programs and funding available to businesses through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act were discussed. Nebraska lenders provided suggestions to Ms. Canales on improvements that might be made to the Business and Industry programs to increase its use in rural Nebraska.
Co-conveners for the conference included the Nebraska Rural Development Commission, Nebraska Cattlemen, U.S. Forest Service, Nebraska Community Foundation, Heartland Center for Leadership Development, Nebraska Rural Initiative, and the Nebraska Resource Conservation and Development.
Ms. Canales and Nebraska RD State Director Maxine Moul also provided interviews to two TV stations, the daily newspaper and two radio stations.
By Nebraska Rural Development Public Information Officer Vicki A. Schurman