The State of Rural America

The State of Rural America

The State of Rural America. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.

Some time back I had the opportunity to visit my old hometown. I hadn’t been there in quite a few years and was saddened by the depressed state of the town and area. Small rural towns and communities have not faired well in the last 20 years or so. Now the White House Rural Council - chaired by Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack - is out with a new report on the state of Rural America in advance of President Obama’s Rural Economic Forum Tuesday in Peosta, Iowa. The Jobs and Economic Security for Rural America report lays out the economic landscape that rural residents face today and highlights the Administration’s accomplishments in rural communities. Vilsack talked about the accomplishments.

VILSACK: What you’ll find in the report is that over 10-thousand rural small businesses have been helped and assisted by USDA and Small Business Administration loans. 35-thousand farmers have received operating or ownership loans. We have a record number of people in a sense employed because of agricultural exports which have reached record levels. USDA alone has helped 400-thousand individuals with home ownership or repairing their homes with loans to do so. Over 6-thousand community facilities including 25-hundred public safety facilities, 750 healthcare facilities and over a thousand schools and libraries have been improved or built and constructed as a result of investments just at USDA alone.
According to Vilsack - the point of the report is to...

VILSACK: Build on a strong foundation, and what we are seeing is a strong agricultural economy that is the strongest it has been, perhaps in history. And it has developed a formula which the President has talked about repeatedly a government that clearly will be spending less but investing wisely and growing the economy.

Obama doesn’t plan to unveil a comprehensive jobs strategy at the forum - but Vilsack indicated that his boss will be making some rural-specific announcements.

VILSACK: What will be proposed and what will be discussed are not small bore issues as they relate to rural economy. They may not have applications to the entire country but they will clearly have significance to the rural areas of this country.

The White House says the President’s visit to Iowa fulfills a campaign pledge he made back in 2007 to hold a rural summit if he won the election.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network. 

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