Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today held a White House Rural Forum at the Wisconsin State Fair with businesses and community leaders, farmers and ranchers to explore ways federal, state and local officials can work together to improve economic conditions and create jobs. The forum is part of a series of meetings that are being held across the country this summer with senior Administration officials.
"The White House Rural Council is focused on creating good-paying jobs in Wisconsin and across America that help businesses grow and communities thrive," said Vilsack. "The best ideas come from the American people, so this Rural Forum gives me an opportunity to hear directly from Wisconsin residents about their ideas on how we can put people back to work and expand the rural economic base here and across the country."
In June, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the first White House Rural Council, chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and a series of working groups have been held in recent weeks to advance the Council's objectives. Since his inauguration, President Obama's Administration has taken significant steps to improve the lives of rural Americans and has provided broad support for rural communities. The Obama Administration has set goals of modernizing infrastructure by providing broadband access to 10 million Americans, expanding educational opportunities for students in rural areas, providing affordable health care, promoting innovation and expanding the production of renewable energy. In the long term, these unparalleled rural investments will help ensure that America's rural communities are repopulating, self-sustaining, and thriving economically.
The White House Rural Council is working collaboratively to build on the Administration's robust economic strategy for rural America and make sure that continued federal investments create maximum benefit for rural Americans. Secretary Vilsack is working to coordinate USDA programs across the government and encourage public-private partnerships to improve economic conditions and create jobs in rural communities. Today's event served as an opportunity to educate participants about USDA programs and other the resources across the federal government that can help rebuild and revitalize America's rural communities.