USDA Officials Meet With Louisiana Business Owners, Farmers and Residents To Discuss Job Creation and Revitalization Opportunities for Rural Communities
BASTROP, La, August 25, 2011 — On Tuesday, Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Doug O'Brien joined local, federal and state officials to get feedback from residents and business leaders on how the Administration can work together to improve economic conditions and create jobs. The meeting is part of a series of roundtables that are being held across the country this summer with senior Obama Administration officials on behalf of the White House Rural Council.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for the people in Louisiana to discuss ways to create jobs and increase economic opportunities," O'Brien said. "The Obama Administration is committed to exploring ways to help rural businesses succeed, expand and create jobs.
The roundtables give 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. Chris Masingill of the Delta Regional Authority co-hosted this event with the City of Bastrop.
USDA Rural Development has helped hundreds of rural Louisiana residents start or expand businesses. For example, Rural Development provided the Bastrop Toyota car dealership a $5 million guaranteed loan that will save 23 jobs and create four new ones. The dealership also received more than $50,000 in Rural Development grants for energy efficient improvements. Other local projects funded by Rural Development include the Bastrop Farmer's Market, expansions to Morehouse Hospital, and new police cars.
In June, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the first White House Rural Council, chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The White House Rural Council will work throughout government to create policies to promote economic prosperity and a high quality of life in rural communities.
Since taking office, 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, and providing affordable health care. In the long term, these unparalleled rural investments will help ensure that America's rural communities are repopulating, self-sustaining and thriving economically.
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 $155 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.
USDA Rural Development is an equal opportunity lender, provider, and employer. Complaints of discrimination should be sent to: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Washington, DC 20250-9140.