This week Wisconsin kicked off an annual tradition, the Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis, WI. As a part of the Opening Day activities, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack hosted a White House Rural Council Forum with businesses and community leaders, farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers from across the State.
The Forum was held to explore ways in which federal, state and local officials can work together to improve economic conditions and create jobs. The forum is a part of a series of meetings hosted by the White House Council being held across the country this summer.
“The White House Rural Council is focused on creating good-paying jobs in Wisconsin and across America that help businesses grow and communities thrive,” said Vilsack. “The best ideas come from the American people, so this Rural Forum gives me an opportunity to hear directly from Wisconsin residents about their ideas on how we can put people back to work and expand the rural economic base here and across the country.”
The forum drew individuals, families, and professionals from various organizations, small businesses, and those whose lives are invested in agriculture and related industries from all areas of the State of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. During the Forum Secretary Vilsack answered and commented on various issues currently affecting rural Wisconsin and Wisconsin Agriculture, ranging from current dairy policies, to migrant workers and the status of rural broadband.
Attendees left the Forum with enthusiasm and expressed gratitude for having the opportunity to have their voices heard and personal concerns listened to by a top level official within the Obama Administration.
Prior to hosting the Forum, Secretary Vilsack had the opportunity to walk the State Fair Grounds, serving food at the 4-H Booth with U.S. Senator Herb Kohl, and tasting flavored milk, with cherry vanilla being among his top picks.
On a more personal note, the Secretary spoke to all the staff and volunteers from USDA that had worked to make the event a success before his departure. He thanked employees for their service and noted that it is a priority of his office to make USDA a premier agency, not only for those we serve, but for USDA employees as well. As a USDA employee, these were encouraging words and an affirmation that what we do every day matters as we help our neighbors across rural Wisconsin build thriving communities and preserve Wisconsin’s agricultural heritage.
The White House Rural Council is working collaboratively to build on the Administration’s robust economic strategy for rural America and make sure that continued federal investments create maximum benefit for rural Americans. Secretary Vilsack is working to coordinate USDA programs across the government and encourage public-private partnerships to improve economic conditions and create jobs in rural communities. Today’s event served as an opportunity to educate participants about USDA programs and other the resources across the federal government that can help rebuild and revitalize America’s rural communities. We are grateful for Secretary Vilsack’s commitment and interest in a healthy and prosperous rural Wisconsin.