Cross posted from the White House blog:
This week, I served as keynote speaker for a special conference in Great Falls, Montana, convened by Rural Dynamics Incorporated. The theme of the conference was “Mobilizing Rural Communities” and included participants representing a host of private, public, and non-profit participants. It has been less than three months since President Obama signed an Executive Order creating the first White House Rural Council. The Great Falls conference provided an opportunity to connect with many great folks from the Northern Plains Region, who are working on a daily basis on local projects and local partnerships to further the economic development and vitality of rural areas.
The group was very interested to learn more about the work of the White House Rural Council. We discussed President Obama’s priority of ensuring that rural areas have additional opportunities for economic investment and available working capital. We also discussed the need for innovation in the areas of high-speed Internet, renewable energy opportunities, as well as enhancements in education and health care. Topics involving natural resource-related business enterprises, public works, and forestry – all key focus areas for the White House Rural Council—were also discussed. Read more »
I’d like to introduce myself. I’m Rebecca Blue, and I am the new Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. I’m excited to join the MRP team and to help contribute to the great work that they have been doing.
Last week I had the opportunity to travel to South Dakota and take part in the Value Added Ag Day at the South Dakota State Fair. I participated in a panel discussion with the South Dakota Value Added Agriculture Development Center where we highlighted the partnership that USDA has with the Center, and how this work enhances rural communities by creating rural agribusiness. Panelists included representatives from Hanson County Oilseed Processors, Elkton Locker, and Intraglobal Biologics. I was blown away by the innovative projects that are being developed and how USDA and the Center were able to help these small and beginning rural businesses succeed. It was great to see how these projects are keeping and creating wealth right here in America, and creating good paying jobs in our rural communities. Read more »
In June, President Obama established the Rural Council, which is chaired by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. As a result, numerous rural roundtables have been held and will continue to be held throughout the country.
Revitalizing rural America is a priority to this Administration. The rural roundtables are an opportunity for stakeholders to provide input, identify challenges and make recommendations.
On my recent trip to the great state of Alabama, my USDA colleagues from Rural Development, Farm Services Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and National Institute of Food and Agriculture supported me at a rural roundtable held in the community of Dothan. We had excellent attendance and constructive input from community leaders attending. Read more »
Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager spent a busy week recently traveling throughout the heartland as a part of President Obama’s Rural Tour.
Under Secretary Tonsager attended a Rural Tour event in Iowa with President Obama and Secretary Vilsack, and then continued to South Dakota where he took part in DakotaFest. DakotaFest is an annual outdoor farm show that takes place on the Schlafffman Farm outside of Mitchell, SD. Mr. Tonsager visited with South Dakotans attending DakotaFest and talked about rural issues most important to them. Read more »
President Barack Obama holds a town hall meeting at the Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa, on the first day of a three-day bus tour in the Midwest, Aug. 15, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to get out of Washington, DC and travel to small towns and farm towns in the heartland of the country. I sat down with small business owners, farmers and ranchers in Iowa; I had lunch with veterans in Cannon Falls, Minnesota; and I talked to plant workers at a seed distributor in Atkinson, Illinois. Read more »
Cross posted from the White House blog:
Today, I am hosting a forum focused on the rural economy at the Iowa state fair. But, Rural America has been in the spotlight all this week as I joined President Obama to travel across parts of Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois, visiting rural communities to discuss his Administration’s efforts to create jobs and drive economic growth. From investments in rural broadband to efforts to support small-business innovation, the President talked about his commitment to rural America – and he listened to what local residents had to say.
The centerpiece of his trip was the Rural Economic Forum, held Tuesday at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta. There, 200 small business owners, farmers, retirees, elected officials and others came together to discuss their ideas for a revitalized rural economy. I was pleased to participate in that forum, along with my Cabinet colleagues Housing and Urban Development Secretary Donovan, Transportation Secretary LaHood, and Administrator Mills of the Small Business Administration. Read more »