White House Rural Council Releases its “Feedback from Rural America” Report
October 6th, 2011
On June 9, 2011, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the White House Rural Council. Since the establishment of the Council, the President, the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and various senior Administration officials have established an open dialogue with rural America through making nearly 200 visits to rural communities throughout the country. These visits, along with the Rural Economic Forum held in Peosta, Iowa, have provided the Council with feedback on how to best address the concerns and aspirations of rural Americans.
The White House Rural Council Feedback Report , released on September 30, summarizes the findings of these visits.
The highest ranking agricultural issue was to improve resources for new and beginning farmers.
Four conservation and environmental issues were flagged:
- Providing rewards and incentives for good conservation practices
- The environmental quality of soil and water resources
- Growing the outdoor recreation economy, and
- Collaboration in developing sustainable natural resource economies
More broadly on rural economic development, participants spoke in favor of:
- Establishing a Rural Community Development Fund so rural areas can invest in their own communities with government matching their private dollars
- Supporting small business development, including micro loan programs
- Increased access to capital for rural entrepreneurs, and
- Regional planning and development initiatives.
These themes are quite consistent with the NSAC 2012 Farm Bill agenda. NSAC will also be submitting recommendations to the Rural Council on positive steps the Administration could take without any additional legislative mandates.