Entries in Rural (2)


Obama to Announce New Jobs Initiatives at Iowa Forum

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- At the White House Rural Economic Forum in Peosta, Iowa, Tuesday, President Obama will announce four new economic initiatives that the administration says will spur growth and help create jobs.
The Small Business Administration will double the amount of investment capital funneled to rural businesses through its Small Business Investment Company program. The total capital infusion will be $350 million over the next five years, officials say.
The administration will sponsor and host “conferences” to help connect private equity and venture capital investors with rural start-ups. And they’ll use “marketing teams” to go out and pitch federal grant money to private investors.
The USDA will allow citizens to access Labor Department job search information at its 2,800 field offices nationwide.
HHS will modify the National Health Service Corps loan repayment program to allow more than 1,300 small, rural hospitals to recruit new physicians. (The White House estimates that the addition of one new primary care physician in a rural community generates $1.5 million in annual revenue and creates 23 jobs annually.)
Officials say all of the initiatives, which come at no additional cost to taxpayers, will create a “pretty significant” number of jobs, but they declined to specify an estimate for how many.
“Half of the people who work in America either own or work for a small business, and two out of every three private sector jobs are created by small business,” said SBA administrator Karen Mills. “This is intensely true in rural areas. Small businesses of all kinds are thriving in rural areas.”
Mills said the additional capital funding leveraged through the agency’s programs will target “hard-hit, underserved” areas and that all small businesses will be eligible.
“You’re going to get a pretty good bang for the taxpayer buck,” Mills said. “Do not be fooled by the numbers. What you’re going to have is a lot of money that goes a very long way, that multiplies in these funds.”
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack added his optimism for increased job creation through the new initiatives.
“There is nothing small bore about this effort that the president has instituted and started in rural America,” Vilsack said when asked to quantify their projected impact.  “I would be willing to say these announcements’re looking at a number that’s pretty significant.”    

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Creates Group to Boost Economic Growth In Rural Areas

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama is creating a special advisory council aimed at promoting economic growth and boosting the quality of life in rural areas, the White House announced Thursday.

"Strong rural communities are key to a stronger America," the president said in a written statement. "That's why I've established the White House Rural Council to make sure we're working across government to strengthen rural communities."

The council, chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, will provide recommendations to the president on investments in rural areas and coordinate engagement with small businesses, agricultural organizations and tribal governments.

In the coming months, the council will focus on increasing access to education, job training, and health care for the roughly 60 million Americans that live in rural areas.

"What we hope to be able to do in the rural council is figure out even more creative ways to look for investments in research and development that increase productivity and figure out ways in which we can significantly increase the economic opportunities from agriculture," Vilsack told reporters on a conference call Thursday. Agriculture is responsible for one out of every 12 jobs in America.

Vilsack also responded to news that the USDA has lowered its projection for this year's corn harvest, saying he was confident that producers will meet demands.

"Production is projected at 13.2 billion bushels of corn which, while it's down from last month's projection, is still a record and up 753 million bushels more than last year. I continue to have faith and confidence in the producers in this country to be able to produce sufficient supplies to meet the various needs that we've created for our crops," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio