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Posts tagged: Economic Growth

A Virtual Roundtable to Bring the StrikeForce Initiative to New Communities

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) StrikeForce Initiative Director Max Finberg listen to StrikeForce Initiative Beneficiary Colorado farmer Carol Baker Olguin discuss the benefits she and her family received through the USDA StrikeForce program during a Google+ Hangout at USDA in Washington, D.C. on Monday, Jun. 17, 2013.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) StrikeForce Initiative Director Max Finberg listen to StrikeForce Initiative Beneficiary Colorado farmer Carol Baker Olguin discuss the benefits she and her family received through the USDA StrikeForce program during a Google+ Hangout at USDA in Washington, D.C. on Monday, Jun. 17, 2013.

Every day, USDA provides assistance to help grow American agriculture and increase opportunities for rural communities. Unfortunately, 90 percent of America’s persistent poverty counties are in rural America.

Earlier this year, we launched the StrikeForce Initiative for Rural Growth and Opportunity, which targets rural areas of persistent poverty where USDA staff work with state, local and community officials to increase awareness of programs, target resources and leverage partnerships to promote economic development and job creation.  The initiative is now operating in sixteen states in the Southeast, Southwest, Great Plains and Alaska. As I travel the country, I am heartened to learn of the impact StrikeForce programs have had in these communities and hear stories from the people who have benefitted. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: A Food Farm and Jobs Bill to Grow Local and Regional Markets

This week, the U.S. Senate acted in bipartisan spirit to approve the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act – a balanced, comprehensive bill that will drive continued growth in rural America.  The House of Representatives now has another important opportunity to stand with rural America and pass their version of a bill.

People often call this the Farm Bill – but it’s much more than that. This is a conservation bill. It’s a trade promotion bill. It’s an innovation bill. It’s a jobs bill.

And it’s a bill that will help continue a tremendous increase in markets for locally-grown foods. This includes creating more farmers markets, building additional regional food hubs and strengthening farm-to-institution programs. Read more »

Open Data for Agriculture Meeting Focuses on Global Food Security

Later this month, Secretary Vilsack will lead the U.S. Delegation to the G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture held in Washington, DC. The conference will bring together innovators from all over the world to discuss the importance of open agricultural data to increased food security across the globe, as well as in opening doors for public/private partnerships and economic growth.   Below, Marshall Matz, former Counsel to the Senate Agriculture Committee and founder of Friends of the World Food Program details some of the goals of this year’s conference and his vision for ag data’s role in a more food secure world. Read more »

Giving Rural America More Tools to Grow and Create Jobs

Cross-posted from the White House blog.

Today, the President announced several important new initiatives to continue strengthening the rural economy and to create jobs in rural areas.

As part of the White House Rural Council’s efforts to improve federal government coordination on rural economic development, the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) have been focused on rural small business growth. And for good reason: Half the people who work in America either own or work for a small business, and two out of three new private sector jobs are created by small businesses. Read more »

Big Sky – Big Opportunities

This morning I had the opportunity to start my day in Big Sky Country where I was invited by Senator Jon Tester to participate in the Small Business Opportunity Workshop hosted at Montana State University.

We have a full house here having reached capacity at 150 attendees with another 80 RSVPs still arriving.  Clearly the word is out on our workshop and the farmers and ranchers of Montana are eager to hear about job creation and economic development opportunities here in the state. Read more »

Rural Development Helps Tribal Communities Grow

As President Obama challenges Americans to win the future, we at USDA are implementing ways to do so by helping tribal communities across the country out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build our global competition. Starting in rural America, but more specifically within tribal communities, we see an amazing opportunity to improve the economic climate and provide a better tomorrow for today’s youth.

At the 2011 Reservation Economic Summit, I was able to showcase the programs we are employing through USDA’s Rural Development to better the lives of those living in rural America, and to support tribal economic development. As the summit rang in its 25th anniversary, the conversation was abuzz with ideas on how to spur economic development in Indian Country – and investing in our Nation’s rural infrastructure is a great place to start. Read more »