Bangor, ME, Feb 10, 2012 -- USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager today met with Maine business, community, and acagemic leaders to gather input on how the Obama Administration can work with local businesses to improve rural economic conditions and create jobs. The event is one in a series of roundtables being held across the nation with senior Obama Administration officials on behalf of the White House Business Council.
"The White House Business Council is working to build a robust economic strategy for rural America while seeking to ensure that continued federal investments in rural communities create maximum benefit for Americans," said Tonsager. "That includes creating jobs by modernizing critical infrastructure, providing broadband to rural communities, expanding educational opportunities, and promoting the production of renewable energy."
The roundtable discussions offer government leaders the unique opportunity to hear directly from business leaders around the country to gather their ideas on how to grow the rural economy. They also are intended to educate participants about USDA programs and other federal resources that help rural businesses, residents, and communities.
Under Secretary for USDA Rural Development Dallas Tonsager said, “This was an immense opportunity to hear from Maine’s dynamic leaders in business, academia, and economic and community development, and to gain insight on how we can create opportunities that will spur economic growth, capitalize on the ingenuity of Maine people, and strengthen the local economy.”
Since taking office, President Obama's Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council – chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack – the President wants the federal government to be the best possible partner for rural businesses and entrepreneurs creating job opportunities and for people who want to live, work, and raise their families in rural communities.
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 $155 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.
USDA Rural Development has Area Offices located in Presque Isle, Bangor, Lewiston, and Scarborough, as well as a State Office, located in Bangor. There are 83 employees working to deliver the agency’s Housing, Business, and Community Programs, which are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, and farmers, and improve the quality of life in rural Maine. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development's web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/me.