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Congressman Braley and Deputy Under Secretary O’Brien Host Farm, Food and Jobs Bill Listening Session in Northeast Iowa

Earlier this week Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Doug O’Brien and Congressman Bruce Braley met with nearly 30 northeast Iowa producers and residents to discuss the important role rural economic development provisions have in the upcoming discussions of the next farm, food and jobs bill.

Iowa producers and residents discuss the impact the next farm, food and jobs bill can have on rural economies with Congressman Braley (in yellow shirt at head of table) and Deputy Under Secretary O’Brien (next to flag).

Iowa producers and residents discuss the impact the next farm, food and jobs bill can have on rural economies with Congressman Braley (in yellow shirt at head of table) and Deputy Under Secretary O’Brien (next to flag).

O’Brien said a goal with the next farm bill is to make it easier for people to access USDA support, ensuring that emerging rural businesses have the capital they need to grow and create jobs, and investing in communities pursuing regional growth.

Congressman Braley emphasized the importance of improving our nation’s roads and lock and dam system, as well as the need for electrical grid updates.  The congressman also stressed the need for continued support of a national energy program that supports wind and biofuels.

The Senate approved the Agriculture Reform, Foods and Jobs Act earlier this summer that will help strengthen local land regional food systems, support rural communities and promote job growth in rural America. The House of Representatives will soon begin discussions of their version of the next farm, food and jobs bill.

While in Iowa, Deputy Secretary O’Brien also announced that the USDA Rural Development mission area is awarding a total of $334,980 to six entities in the state through its Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program to help with job-creation efforts.

Receiving funds  include Iowa Valley Resource Conservation and Development, Amana ($50,000); City of Underwood ($42,820); Indian Hills Community College, Ottumwa ($70,000); Northeast Iowa Community College Foundation, Calmar ($44,000); City of Elgin ($59,000) and Loess Hills Solutions, Inc., Council Bluffs ($69,180).

O’Brien added that there is a tremendous opportunity to address the needs of rural America to help drive rural job creation with the effective use of taxpayer dollars.  President Obama’s Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities.

Further information on programs available through USDA Rural Development is available by visiting the agency’s web site at www.usda.gov.

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