Champaign, IL, Jul 07, 2011 -- Contact: Joan Messina (217) 403-6248
Illinois Farmer Meets with President Obama at
White House Rural Champions of Change Meeting
Champaign, Ill., July 7, 2011 – Eric Rund from Pesotum, Ill., participated in a White House a meeting this week with President Obama, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the President's Domestic Policy Adviser Melody Barnes and leaders from rural communities across the country as part of the White House Rural Champions of Change roundtable.
“I was honored to be selected for the Council and have the opportunity to share with national policy makers what biomass production can do for farmers, rural communities, job creation and energy independence,” said Rund. “I invited the President to visit my farm to see first-hand what we’re doing to create change.”
Rund is one of 18 people from 16 different states who were invited to share their ideas directly with the Obama Administration about how to strengthen rural communities and promote economic growth.
Rund, farmer and CEO of Green Flame Energy, was selected because he took what made practical and economic sense from the available biomass research and applied it to his farm and his neighbors’ farms. He is working extensively to develop biomass markets, and he has shown home owners, community school districts and businesses how they can utilize biomass energy produced by local farmers.
This week the White House Champions of Change focus is on farmers, ranchers and rural residents who are making a positive impact in their communities. Champions of Change is a White House initiative that recognizes ordinary Americans who are accomplishing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. The administration acknowledges that the best ideas come directly from the American people, and on a weekly basis a Champions of Change roundtable is held to spotlight some of the top ideas that are making change a reality across the country.
This week’s meeting is part of a series of meetings that are being held in the nation’s Capitol and across the country this summer as part of the White House Rural Council and the White House Business Council to coordinate programs across government and encourage public-private partnerships to improve economic conditions, quality of life and create jobs in rural communities.
In June, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the first WHRC chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The Council will provide recommendations for investment in rural areas and will coordinate Federal engagement with a variety of rural stakeholders, including agricultural organizations, small businesses, and state, local, and tribal governments.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $150 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
Caption for “Rund” photo: Illinois farmer Eric Rund shared with President Obama, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, and other Rural Champions for Change about his success testing biomass crops on his farm, learning from European farmers who had grown these crops for years, and how he is developing markets.
Caption for “Rural Champions for Change group”: Eric Rund from Pesotum, Ill., was chosen participate in the Rural Champions for Change roundtable at the White House to discuss how to improve economic conditions, quality of life and create jobs in rural communities.
Other photos from the meeting are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/sets/72157627010957201/.