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News Release

Release No. 0356.11
Kent Politsch (202) 720-7163

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USDA Deputy Under Secretary Hosts Roundtable to Discuss Job Creation Opportunities with Arkansas Agriculture and Business Leaders

HELENA, Ark. – Aug. 12, 2011 – USDA Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services (FFAS) Acting Deputy Under Secretary Karis Gutter is holding a Roundtable Forum for Farm Service Agency program and credit participants today in Helena, Arkansas, a community 75 miles south of Memphis, Tenn. Gutter is meeting with producers and local businessmen to discuss agricultural issues, programs, USDA news and administration priorities.

"By holding forums like this, we open up the door and provide an opportunity to dialogue with farmers and ranchers as well as community leaders," said Gutter. "This approach allows us to listen to ideas, share thoughts and ultimately provide the best services and programs to U.S. producers who feed, clothe and fuel the American people."

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is working to improve and coordinate USDA programs across the government. His encouragement of public-private partnerships to stimulate economic conditions and create jobs in rural communities is an important element in discussions with producers and agricultural businesses all across the American rural landscape.

Today's event in Helena, a city of 7,500, serves as an opportunity to educate participants about USDA programs and other resources provided by the federal government that can help rebuild and revitalize America's rural communities.

In June, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the first White House Rural Council, chaired by Secretary Vilsack, and a series of working groups have been held in recent weeks to advance the Council's objectives. Since his inauguration, President Obama's Administration has taken significant steps to improve the lives of rural Americans and has provided broad support for rural communities. The Obama Administration has set goals of modernizing infrastructure by providing broadband access to 10 million Americans, expanding educational opportunities for students in rural areas, providing affordable health care, promoting innovation and expanding the production of renewable energy. In the long term, these unparalleled rural investments will help ensure that America's rural communities are repopulating, self-sustaining, and thriving economically.

As chair of the Rural Council, Secretary Vilsack is working to coordinate USDA programs across the government and encourage public-private partnerships to improve economic conditions and create jobs in rural communities. The White House Rural Roundtables are an opportunity for government leaders to hear directly from rural residents from around the country about their ideas on how to grow the economy. This exchange is also intended to educate participants about USDA programs and other the resources within the federal government. 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 to improve the quality of life in rural America.


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