One of the best things about working for USDA as a deputy under secretary for Rural Development is the ability to meet with so many brilliant business leaders from around the country. Last week, at the White House, I met with dozens of folks to discuss economic development and community renewal efforts.
We talked about Regional Innovation, one of several topics the Obama Administration is emphasizing to revitalize rural areas. Improving access to capital, building out broadband, developing renewable energy and establishing regional food systems will increase productivity and economic growth in rural America. Read more »
Rural communities are the backbone of our nation’s economy. This past year, food and agriculture exports from rural America reached their highest levels ever and the industry supported more than 1.15 million American jobs. America’s agricultural trade surplus also reached record levels. This is partly the result of a comprehensive rural strategy implemented to spur innovation, increase export levels, invest in clean energy, and expand opportunities for rural enterprises on and off the farm that create jobs. In the last few years, USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program and our Business and Industry Guarantee program has created jobs and has helped millions of rural Americans address essential challenges in health care, education, public service and public safety. And now we want to hear YOUR voice.
On the heels of the 1 year anniversary of the White House Rural Council, and to celebrate National Homeownership Month, I will host the 3rd installment of Virtual Office Hours. The topic will be economic development in our nation’s rural communities, including the great strides that have been made in agricultural economy and the important role housing plays in creating jobs, maintaining viable rural communities, and contributing to the economy. Read more »
On a beautiful summer morning, more than 200 Bridgewater faculty, staff, students and local residents celebrated the completion of a $14 million dollar student housing project on the rural campus of Bridgewater College.
The new “Stone Village” as named by the college for its past President, Mr. Phillip Stone, will be a complex of five, two-story, colonial-designed housing that will be on the cutting edge of energy efficiency and minimize its environmental impact on the rural campus. The housing is registered as a potential Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver project and incorporates such green features as high efficiency HVAC, occupancy sensor lighting, recycled building materials and even the interior paints that were used were all environmentally friendly to improve indoor air quality. Read more »
Earlier this month we were honored to have Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Agriculture Doug O’Brien join USDA Rural Development Michigan State Director James J. Turner at our Earth Day ceremony in Buena Vista Township. The township board of trustees was there and Township Supervisor Dwayne A. Parker served as our master of ceremonies.
Locally known as “BV Township,” Buena Vista is located next to Saginaw and like many rural communities, its sewer infrastructure was in a state of disrepair when they approached USDA for help. Read more »
Earlier this month, acting USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Doug O’Brien heard one testimonial after another from a variety of people who thanked the federal government for providing funding and services to a portion of western North Dakota that was hard hit by outmigration two decades ago.
The area has been designated one of seven “Great Regions” in the nation by USDA Rural Development. However, sixteen years prior it was named a Rural Economic Area Partnership or a “REAP” pilot project by then-Senator Byron Dorgan. On February 16, a celebration was held in Dickinson that attracted the non-profit’s board members, community leaders, business owners, and USDA personnel who provided technical assistance over the years. Read more »
A regional initiative in Southwest Iowa originally intended to train farmers on local-food production has evolved into a rural-urban partnership that touches a poverty-stricken community. I joined USDA Rural Development Acting Deputy Under Secretary Doug O’Brien in Oakland, Iowa, recently to meet with officials from the Golden Hills Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) council.
Golden Hills was one of seven “Great Regions” designed by Rural Development earlier this year for its plan to, among other things, provide business and management skills training for up to 15 farm-based businesses. Read more »