|Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Says Thank You to America's Farmers, Ranchers, and Rural Communities for Helping Strengthen Our Nation's Economy|
|News Releases - Agribusiness|
|Written by USDA Communications|
|Thursday, 19 April 2012 15:43|
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa, April 19, 2012 - Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack highlighted the importance of agriculture and rural America to the economic recovery and the strength of the nation. Vilsack touted America's farmers, ranchers and growers as some of our nation's greatest assets, responsible for one out of every 12 jobs: providers of our food, feed, fiber, and fuel while helping to drive our national economy. He highlighted ways the USDA and the Obama Administration have worked to improve the lives of rural Americans and grow the agricultural economy over the past three years by developing new markets at home and abroad, maintaining a strong safety net, investing in conservation and research, and encouraging the next generation of farmers.
"Thanks to the productivity of America's hardworking farmers, ranchers and producers, U.S. agriculture continues to be a bright spot in America's economy and a driving force behind export growth, job creation, and our nation's competitiveness," said Vilsack. "U.S. agriculture accounts for 1 in 12 jobs, provides American consumers with safe and affordable foods, contributes to record incomes for farm families, and is helping reduce our reliance on foreign oil. Through our efforts at USDA and the work of the White House Rural Council, the Obama Administration is supporting farmers, ranchers, and rural communities as they help strengthen our nation's economy."
Vilsack noted USDA's work to strengthen the rural economy over the past three years, including:
Vilsack also touted the work of the first-ever White House Rural Council, that was established by President Obama in June 2011. Chaired by Secretary Vilsack, the Council gives the Administration the ability to cut across large federal agencies to deliver results for rural families and businesses and provides a unique opportunity to hear directly from people across the country on how to grow the economy and create jobs in rural America.
Since its launch, the White House Rural Council has supported a broad spectrum of rural initiatives including a $350 million commitment in SBA funding to rural small businesses over the next 5 years, launching a series of conferences to connect investors with rural start-ups, creating capital marketing teams to pitch federal funding opportunities to private investors interested in making rural investments, making job search information available at 2,800 local USDA offices nationwide, making HHS loans available to help more than 1,300 Critical Access Hospitals recruit additional staff, and helping rural hospitals purchase software and hardware to implement health IT. USDA and Navy have also announced a partnership to advance the use of next generation biofuels in Navy operations.
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