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News Release

Release No. 0446.11
Office of Communications (202) 720-4623

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Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan Promotes Job Creation Partnerships with Rural Business Leaders in Kansas

MANHATTAN, Kan., Oct. 13, 2011 - Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today joined farmers, ranchers, and area business leaders in a Winning the Future Roundtable with American Business discussion at Kansas State University. The purpose of the discussion is to get feedback on how the administration can work together to strengthen the economy in rural America and spur job creation. The meeting is part of a series of roundtables that are being held across the country this fall with senior Obama administration officials on behalf of the White House Rural Council.

"The American Jobs Act provides common-sense steps we can take right now to put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans, without adding a dime to the deficit," said Merrigan. "In Kansas, this Act will provide a tax cut for over 60,000 businesses, support the jobs of 4,300 teachers and first responders and immediately provide 4,700 construction workers a job improving highways and other critical infrastructure. Kansas families will receive a tax cut of around $1,400."

Deputy Secretary Merrigan stressed the connection between the president's plan to get American's back to work and the opportunities to develop and expand regional food systems that keep wealth and jobs in rural communities. The American Jobs Act was sent to Capitol Hill and the Obama administration will work to make sure that the individual proposals in this jobs bill get a vote as soon as possible.

The Deputy Secretary also applauded Congressional passage of three trade agreements that will level the playing field and secure markets for farmers, ranchers, and producers across Kansas. While discussing food systems policy with students, faculty and community leaders at Kansas State University, she outlined the administration's plan to create jobs and rural wealth in Kansas.

For American agriculture, passage of trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama will open new economic opportunities including over $2.3 billion in additional exports, supporting nearly 20,000 jobs across the country. Upon implementation of these agreements, the majority of American products exported to South Korea, Colombia, and Panama will become duty-free.

U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement Kansas Fact Sheet

U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Kansas Fact Sheet

U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Kansas Fact Sheet

On September 8, President Obama presented the American Jobs Act in an address to Congress. The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans. The American Jobs Act is specific. It will put people back to work right now, and it will not add to the deficit. Through a combination of direct spending, such as infrastructure investments, and tax relief, such as an extension of the payroll tax cuts, it will lead to new American jobs.

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.


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