Fargo, ND, May 14, 2013 -- In his keynote address today at the Telecom Operators Conference in Fargo, Acting USDA Rural Utilities Administrator John Padalino highlighted the importance of telecommunications in providing economic opportunity. The event brought together over 900 industry leaders from North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and others from the surrounding region.
“Access to broadband has become essential for its social and economic benefits,” said Padalino. “USDA and the Obama Administration are proud to support the telecom industry to build upon technology that offers opportunities for economic development, job creation and globalized markets.”
Padalino will continue his visit in North Dakota this week by hosting a stakeholder meeting in Bismarck focused on creating partnerships that benefit the future of rural America. Those in attendance will include representatives from the local, state and federal government, tribal leaders, utility service managers, economic developers and rural organizations.
“With the tremendous growth in North Dakota, the Rural Utilities Service is a key partner in building up our state’s infrastructure,” said Jasper Schneider, USDA Rural Development state director. “We are thankful to have Administrator Padalino visit and hear his insight into what the future of rural America looks like.”
Since 2009, USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has invested more than $2.4 billion in North Dakota utility projects including water and wastewater, electric, and telecommunications infrastructure. USDA has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.