The U.S. Department of Agriculture sponsored a Presidential Roundtable Forum on job creation for South Carolina at Clemson Research and Education Center in Columbia today, bringing together about 60 community leaders to brainstorm solutions to high unemployment numbers and the impact on rural areas.
“This forum provides an opportunity to share ideas on creating jobs and economic opportunities,” said Vernita F. Dore, state director of USDA Rural Development in South Carolina. “Government can help lay the groundwork for economic growth, but the best ideas for continued growth and job creation often come from local communities. We need the best ideas to share with the Obama Administration.
The roundtable included business owners, residents, state and local officials, union members, non-profit organizations, community leaders, economists, educators and others interested in job creation and economic stability.
“The primary purpose is to put South Carolinians back to work,” said Dore. “We all know that unemployment in our state is one of the highest in the nation, and this forum brings the opportunity to change that. It gives us the chance to remind rural America about the many programs that Rural Development has to address this economy’s problems.”
“Moreover,” Dore continued, “it gives Rural Development the opportunity to remind rural communities that Rural Development stands poised with direct and guaranteed loan and grant programs to finance and help to create jobs and stimulate the economy. We believe that this forum will truly generate ideas for job creation and economic expansion in our state.”
USDA Rural Development works to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural families and businesses. Rural Development administers and manages more than 40 housing, business, and community infrastructure and facility programs as laid out by Congress. South Carolina has 108 employees in 11 offices.
These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $125 billion in loans and loan guarantees.
USDA’s Farm Service Agency, also a sponsor for the program, works with farmers, producers and ranchers to improve their economic viability and prosperity. Some of the agency’s efforts include financial assistance with loans for operations, farm equipment, seed and fertilizer and ownership loans to purchase a farm. FSA also implements disaster and conservation programs, and works to procure various commodities to benefit low-income families through domestic food assistance programs. FSA has 36 offices and service centers in South Carolina. FSA personnel assisted farmers in commodity and program payments in FY 2009 of $145.7 million.
Pierce McNair from South Carolina Technical Systems stresses the importance of investing in education for economic development at the Job Forum in Columbia, South Carolina.
Janie Davis from South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs " Small Business does not live by itself."
Submitted by Marlous Black and Mack Eubanks of USDA
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”