White House Announces Rural Development Council
June 9th, 2011
The White House announced Thursday, June 9, the formation of the new White House Rural Council to address challenges facing rural communities and help improve the implementation of the Obama Administration’s rural strategies. The Council will be comprised of Cabinet members from over twenty agencies and offices.
“Strong, sustainable rural communities are essential to winning the future and ensuring American competitiveness in the years ahead,” said the Executive Order establishing the Council.
NSAC has long worked to champion sustainable rural development through programs such as the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, Value-Added Producer Grants, and Local and Regional Food Enterprise Loans. The Council will coordinate existing programs such as these and work with rural stakeholders to improve implementation of rural programs.
The Council will focus on rural economic development in ten key areas: job training, agriculture, credit access, energy innovation, regional networks, expansion of health technology, increased education, broadband internet access, infrastructure investment, and opportunities on working and public lands.
The group will be led by USDA and include the Departments of Treasury, Defense, Justice, Interior, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, Education, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security.
President Obama says the Council will “make sure we’re working across government to strengthen rural communities and promote economic growth.”
According to the Executive Order the Council will make recommendations to the President on “streamlining and leveraging Federal investments in rural areas” and will “coordinate and increase the effectiveness of Federal engagement with rural stakeholders.”
The Council plans to hold stakeholder sessions in different regions around the country, though no details have been announced yet.