Grinnell, IA, Aug 18, 2011 -- GRINNELL, Iowa – August 23, 2011 – USDA Rural Development Under Secretary, Dallas Tonsager and Patricia Brown-Dixon, U.S. Small Business Administration Regional Administrator for Region VII, met with businesses leaders in Grinnell today to discuss ways local communities and businesses can collaborate with state and federal agencies to help improve economic conditions and create jobs.
The meeting today was part of a series of roundtables that are being held across the country this summer with senior Administration officials on behalf of the White House Business Council and White House Rural Council. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is the chair of the White House Rural Council.
“Today’s roundtable was a tremendous opportunity for me to learn about the challenges local businesses owners are facing and what type of opportunities they see ahead,” said Tonsager. “It was clear that creating new job opportunities is extremely important for rural Iowans. The federal government, through its various programs, is committed to helping improve economic opportunities in rural America.”
White House Business Council members plan to host roundtables in at least 100 communities across the country by year-end. The purpose of these roundtables is to listen to local businesses and get feedback on how the Administration can best support their growth. It is also to make sure that local business leaders are taking advantage of the Administration resources and programs designed to help them create jobs and compete.
The meetings give an opportunity for government leaders to hear directly from business leaders around the country about their ideas on how to grow the economy. This exchange also is intended to educate business and community leaders about USDA programs and other the resources within the federal government to help them compete and expand.
In June, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the first White House Rural Council, chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The White House Rural Council will work throughout government to create policies to promote economic prosperity and a high quality of life in our rural communities.
Since taking office, 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, and providing affordable health care. In the long term, these unparalleled rural investments will help ensure that America’s rural communities are repopulating, self-sustaining and thriving economically.
In the last 10 years, 66 of Iowa’s 99 counties have seen a population decline. While rural communities and areas are home to 1.7 million Iowans, more than half of Iowa’s nearly 950 cities now have fewer than 500 residents.
USDA Rural Development currently administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility loan and grant programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
During the past year the agency helped a record number of Iowans receive funding for economic development projects and quality of life improvements. The agency’s investment in Iowa helped create or retain more than 2,200 jobs, aided 2,500 families in buying their own homes and assisted more than 250 communities as they made improvements to their facilities, services and infrastructure.
For more information about finance programs through USDA Rural Development, please call the office located in Albia at (641) 932-3031 Ext. 4. This office serves communities, businesses and residents in Appanoose, Davis, Jasper, Lucas, Mahaska, Marion, Monroe, Poweshiek, Wapello and Wayne Counties.
USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.7 million Iowans living in rural communities and areas. Office locations include a State Office in Des Moines, along with Area Offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, Le Mars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly.
Further information on programs available through USDA Rural Development is available by visiting the agency’s web site at www.rurdev.usda.gov/ia.
USDA Rural Development is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.
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