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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Background on White House Rural Economic Forum

On Tuesday, August 16th the President and members of the White House Rural Council will host the White House Rural Economic Forum at  Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Iowa. The Forum will bring together farmers, small business owners, private sector leaders, rural organizations, and government officials to discuss ideas and initiatives to promote economic growth, accelerate hiring, and spur innovation in rural communities nationwide.  The President will engage directly with a variety of rural leaders from across the nation to discuss the importance of growing small businesses and strengthening the middle class in rural America.

At the Forum, President Obama will deliver opening and closing remarks.  He will also attend two of the five breakout sessions --  Growing Rural Small Business with SBA Administrator Karen Mills and Promoting Agricultural Innovation and Renewable Energy Jobs in Rural Communities with USDA Secretary Vilsack.

Approximately 125 rural leaders representing a cross-section of interests will attend and participate in the Forum.  An additional 75 community college and local invited guests will also attend the opening and closing remarks.

Background on Breakout Sessions
The Rural Forum will have five simultaneous breakout sessions.  Each session will last 90 minutes and have approximately 15-30 participants representing a cross-section of interests from rural America.  Cabinet and senior administration officials will host and moderate each session.

List of breakout sessions:

  • Growing Rural Small Business (Administrator Karen Mills)
  • Promoting Agricultural Innovation and Renewable Energy Jobs in Rural Communities (Secretary Vilsack)
  • Strengthening the Middle Class in Rural America (Secretary Donovan/DPC Director Melody Barnes)
  • Creating Jobs through Conservation, Outdoor Recreation and Tourism (Secretary Salazar/CEQ Chair Nancy Sutley)
  • Building Economic Opportunity for Rural Businesses through Infrastructure Investments (Secretary LaHood)

Additional Background on the Rural Council
On June 9, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the first White House Rural Council to accelerate the ongoing work of promoting economic growth in rural America.  The Council is focused on increasing rural access to capital, spurring agricultural innovation, expanding digital and physical infrastructure in rural areas, and creating economic opportunities through conservation and outdoor recreation.

On August 12, the White House Rural Council released a new report entitled Jobs and Economic Security for Rural America, which lays out the economic landscape rural Americans face today and highlights the Administration’s key accomplishments in rural communities.  The Jobs and Economic Security for Rural America report focuses on five critical areas: creating jobs and promoting economic growth, improving access to quality health care and education, fostering innovation, expanding outdoor opportunities, and supporting veterans and military families.