Last week I had the pleasure of spending a couple of days with President Obama in farm country. At stops in Iowa, Missouri and Illinois we heard from the men and women who make their living in rural America about issues ranging from commodity prices, to job creation initiatives, to the environment. And we were reminded that a vibrant national economy depends on a healthy rural America.
Over the last year, I heard about many of these same subjects as I visited dozens of communities in 20 states while leading President Obama’s Rural Tour - an effort to engage in a more robust dialog with folks living in rural America. In those visits I saw that there is more opportunity in rural American today than at any time in decades – but that we need to embrace new strategies to help drive that revitalization.
And today I’m excited to announce that USDA is going to host a National Rural Summit, on Thursday, June 3, in Hillsboro, Mo., to discuss the future of rural America. This summit will build on the dialogue I began with rural Americans on the Rural Tour, and we’ll seek more input on how communities, states, and the federal government can work together to help strengthen rural communities across this nation.
The Obama administration stands ready to help communities generate wealth and build a stronger, more prosperous rural America for generations to come. And I can’t wait to get out more details about this event – and to hear ideas from Americans of all stripes about how to help in that revitalization.
Tom Vilsack is the Agriculture Secretary