USDA Asks Local Pennsylvania Businesses What They Need From the Federal Government to Grow, Create Jobs
USDA Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Cheryl Cook and Thomas Williams, Rural Development Pennsylvania State Director recently conducted a Small Business Council meeting at the Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce, followed by a visit to Molnar Farms, a local Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) recipient. Roxanne Molnar explained to the USDA officials how $20,000 in REAP funds was used to install computer-controlled radiant heaters and ceiling vents to modernize a 40,000 chicken house to keep the chickens healthy in the extreme heat and cold.
The Small Business Council meeting included 25 business leaders and agricultural producers from the Lebanon Valley providing input to Ms. Cook on ways federal officials can help improve economic conditions and create jobs. The room came alive with feedback when Ms. Cook posed a question on what should be considered for the 2012 Farm Bill and what programs are needed to help businesses and agricultural producers thrive and stay in the area. The group discussed energy concerns and how Rural Development programs can be used for energy efficiency. In particular, Seldom Rest Farms, a local REAP recipient, installed solar panels that reportedly eliminated the electric bill on their family poultry farm.