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On The Road Again… In Texas

Thank you Willie Nelson for giving us a great theme song during our journey around the great state of Texas recently as we continued the conversation about jobs and economic growth in rural America that began in December with President Obama at the White House.  The Farm Service Agency Executive Director, Juan Garcia, and I decided that the best way to hold these forums were to do it face-to-face with our rural communities.  Nine days of driving over 3000 miles, we met with over 100 Texans at seven forums held in strategically located areas. Read more »

SDA Rural Development and the Farm Service Agency Host A Louisiana Roundtable on Jobs and Economic Growth

The United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development and Farm Service Agency in Louisiana hosted a Jobs and Economic Growth Roundtable in Alexandria, bringing together more than 30 community leaders, business owners, and residents from across the state to discuss what is needed to create jobs and economic development in rural Louisiana.

“This is in response to a request from President Obama” said Clarence Hawkins, Rural Development State Director and moderator of the roundtable. “The Obama Administration is currently exploring every avenue available to foster job creation and USDA Rural Development has been tasked nationally to take the lead in this effort. Your input in identifying obstacles and opportunities will be provided to the United States Department of Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, and to the White House.”

The discussion centered on infrastructure, spanning the need for better transportation to possible solutions in developing more production ready sites. The group identified Louisiana’s strengths which included health care, energy services, and law enforcement. Obstacles discussed included lack of a skilled workforce, lack of capital for small businesses, and the need to further develop and strengthen the state’s infrastructure. Much discussion centered around the impact on Louisiana’s forest industry with recent paper mill closings in the state.

USDA officials discussed the resources that are invested in Louisiana including funds for housing, businesses, community infrastructure and facilities, broadband, farming, biomass, and conservation. These all create jobs. All agreed in the importance of state and federal agencies collaborating to educate each and every rural community in the state.

In summary, Hawkins stated, “This group identified a serious need for additional funds to renovate and develop infrastructure, as that serves as the foundation for us to attract the industries that will provide the jobs we need in Louisiana.”

job forum louisianaUSDA Rural Development Louisiana State Director Clarence W. Hawkins welcomes attendees to the Roundtable on Jobs and Economic Growth held Tuesday, January 26, 2010, in Alexandria, Louisiana

job forum louisiana
Some of the attendees at the Roundtable on Jobs and Economic Growth held Tuesday, January 26, 2010, in Alexandria, Louisiana, sponsored by USDA Rural Development and USDA Farm Service Agency


Submitted by Karen Nardini on behalf of Clarence W. Hawkins, State Director, USDA Rural Development, Louisiana

To learn more, go to the Rural Development and FSA Job Roundtables Schedule, and the News Release, “USDA to Host Roundtables on Jobs, Economic Growth

About 100 Turn Out for a Job Forum in Carson City, Nevada

Ideas ranging from opening a beef slaughterhouse to attracting more investment in renewable energy came from the Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth co-sponsored by USDA Rural Development and the Farm Service Agency at Western Nevada College in Carson City, Nevada.  Nearly 100 people braved snow and cold on Thursday, January 21, to listen and share their ideas. Read more »

60 Turn Out For Jobs Forum in Washington State

About 60 people representing business, banking, government, Native American Tribes, and general citizenry throughout western Washington, attended a public forum on jobs and economic growth on the evening of Jan. 26, at the Cowlitz Regional Conference Center in Longview, Washington. Read more »

Dozens Turn Out to Share Ideas on Stimulating the Economy and Creating Jobs in Kentucky

Despite unexpected snowfall and cold temperatures, more than 50 people participated in a forum on jobs creation in Kentucky on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University on Tuesday. Read more »

USDA Reporting to You, and Looking Ahead

Today, the White House launched an interactive online feature with video reports from members of President Obama’s Cabinet.  In his message, Secretary Vilsack addresses the USDA’s accomplishments from 2009, and also talks about how we plan to make life better Americans in the year ahead. To see the Secretary’s statement, click here. Read more »