Last week Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager met with Twenty-two Utah business leaders for a White House Business Council roundtable. The meeting was hosted by Zions Bank Corporation and USDA Rural Development. Salt Lake City was one of the 100 communities across the nation to hold a White House Business Council event. The Salt Lake meeting gave businesses the opportunity to share their ideas for job creation with the White House and USDA.
Tonsager, a key Obama Administration official for rural economic development efforts, sought advice from the business community on ways to improve the economic climate. The exchange also educated business and community leaders in attendance about resources available through USDA Rural Development.
“The Administration is reaching out to you. The purpose of this roundtable is to listen to you and get your feedback on how we can best support growth here in Utah,” said Dave Conine, the USDA Rural Development State Director in Utah.
Business leaders expressed their support for current efforts to streamline application processes for federal programs and applicants. Other topics addressed at the meeting include the loss of agricultural opportunities in rural western communities, outmigration from rural communities, the disappearance of family farms, limitation on business lending from credit unions, and the potential for renewable energy projects in Utah.