Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

White House Roundtable Meeting with Rural Leaders

This week, I led a meeting in the Roosevelt Room at the White House with leaders of a host of rural organizations to discuss the White House Rural Council.  The White House Rural Council, which was established by President Obama on June 9, 2011, will build on this Administration’s unprecedented efforts to spur job creation and economic growth in rural America.  Along with Jon Carson, the Director of the Office of Public Engagement and Doug McKalip of the White House Domestic Policy Council, we discussed the Council’s efforts to improve coordination among federal agencies. We focused in on ways to help better leverage existing federal resources in rural America – and on how  to facilitate private-public partnerships that can move the needle in building stronger rural communities.

The meeting was a chance for me to listen to our rural partners on the issues that need to be addressed and discuss potential solutions.  Some of the key issues raised included the need to coordinate more with our federal partners on health care, broadband, and other critical infrastructure; how to increase the availability of capital and lending to rural businesses and families; efforts to remove barriers to young and beginning farmers; and strategies for establishing better partnerships with states, tribes, local governments and the private sector. Many of the leaders gathered also expressed appreciation for the renewed focus on rural America and the importance the White House has placed on these issues.

These sorts of conversations were an important goal of the Rural Council.  While the Obama administration has worked to drive innovation in rural America and capitalize on emerging opportunities like renewable energy, local and regional food systems, and expanded broadband access, there is more work to be done.  Partnering with leaders in rural America is the best way for government to help foster investment, support communities, and help rural businesses succeed, expand and create jobs.

I am proud to serve as the Chair of the White House Rural Council and look forward to all we can achieve with our partners both within and outside the Federal government to create more opportunity in rural communities so that they remain great places to live, work and raise a family.

6 Responses to “White House Roundtable Meeting with Rural Leaders”

  1. dijana vuletic says:

    This is good,best regards

  2. Lou Anne Kling says:

    I would like to know who is serving on this Rural Council?
    There is such a need for money to help fund all the technical assistance for the people who provide that help, they are small rural non-profits. This group of people have enough brochures telling them, they need a person one-on-one sitting besides them, helping fill out the crazy stack of forms you need to fill out before you can apply for any goverment help. This is needed for ranchers, farmers, small business start ups, and the need is severe for minorities. When a person is helped by an actual person sitting by their side, they then learn the skills so in the future they will help someone else.
    Please, give some thought to setting up grants for technical assistance to small non-profits, I know RD has some of those, but the .far exceeded the small amount of money that was in that pot. If we are to re-grow rural american, we need this help the most, repopulate the country side and small towns again, this time it will multi cultual

  3. Bruce Ward says:

    I was honored to be a participant at this event and it was not only inspirational but reassuring to know that the values of rural America are at work, continuing to make our country great.

  4. Catherine Nowak says:

    I live in Chiefland, Florida. Outside of the city there is no reasonable broadband service. I pay $80.00/month for MiFi(Mobile Broadband) and my usage is limited to 10 GB. I rely on the Internet for EVERYTHING. This service is not even fast enough to watch webcasts. HELP!
    Cathy Nowak

  5. Ken says:

    Sec Vilsack hit it right on the head – availability of capital and lending to rural businesses. Without capital, lending, and certainty about the vague direction of gov’t policies on business growth, taxes and funding small and large rural businesses will not hire.

  6. Rebecca [USDA Moderator] says:

    Hi everyone,

    Thanks so much for your responses! Lou Anne and Catherine, someone from USDA will reach out to you directly about your inquiries.

    Thank you again,

    Rebecca Frank
    Office of Communications

Leave a Reply