Syracuse, NY, May 04, 2012 -- USDA Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Doug O'Brien and staff from U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s office joined area business leaders in a roundtable discussion today to get feedback on how the Obama Administration can work with local businesses and community leaders to improve rural economic conditions and create jobs.
The meeting is part of a series of roundtables that are being held across the country with senior Obama Administration officials on behalf of the White House Rural Council. "I'm always impressed with the ideas and enthusiasm that come from the hard-working people of rural New York," O'Brien said. "Increasingly, we see urban leaders turning to small-town America for creative solutions where out-of-the-box thinking has long been a necessity.”
The roundtables provide government leaders an opportunity to hear directly from business leaders around the country about their ideas on how to grow the economy. They also are intended to educate participants about USDA programs and other federal resources that help rural businesses, residents and communities. Hosted by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the roundtable drew a diverse group of small business, industry, and education leaders from western New York.
USDA Rural Development continues to assist many small New York businesses. During O’Brien’s visit to New York, he announced that USDA is providing funding to eight organizations. The grant funds come from USDA Rural Development’s Rural Business Enterprise Grant program (RBEG), which provides grants for rural projects that finance and facilitate the development of small and emerging rural businesses. To assist with business development, RBEGs may fund a broad array of activities. Rural public entities (towns, communities, State agencies, and authorities), Indian tribes and rural private non-profit corporations are eligible to apply for funding under this USDA program. Listed below is a list of organizations in New York that were selected to receive funding. Grant awards total $588,000.
• St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Corporation $14,600
• Tompkins County Area Development Corp $99,900
• Binghamton Local Development Corporation $60,000
• County of Lewis Industrial Development Agency $90,000
• Jefferson County Local Development Corporation $99,000
• Village of Holley $99,000
• Mohawk Valley Economic Development District, Inc. $20,000
• Town of Batavia $105,500
"Rural Development is committed to creating – and sustaining – job development and entrepreneurial growth," said New York Rural Development Acting State Director Bryan Clerkin. "Roundtables such as these not only offer an unprecedented opportunity to listen and learn; they also provide a launch pad for new ideas and partnerships to take hold and flourish."
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 is committed to using Federal resources more efficiently to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working 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 $165 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.