USDA Official Meets With Business Leaders in Central Kentucky to Discuss Job Creation, Economic Growth and Rural Revitalization | USDA Newsroom
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Release No. 0452.11
Contact:
Katherine Belcher (859) 224-7306

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USDA Official Meets With Business Leaders in Central Kentucky to Discuss Job Creation, Economic Growth and Rural Revitalization

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Oct. 19, 2011 – USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager will join area business leaders in a roundtable discussion in Nicholasville today to get feedback on how the Obama Administration can work with local businesses and community leaders to improve rural economic conditions and create jobs. The meeting is part of a series of roundtables being held across the country with senior Obama Administration officials on behalf of the White House Rural Council.

"President Obama created the White House Rural Council to build on the Administration's robust economic strategy for rural America and make sure that continued federal investments in rural communities create maximum benefit for rural Americans," said Tonsager. "Rural Development is working toward this goal by building and modernizing critical infrastructure, providing broadband to rural communities, expanding educational opportunities and promoting the production of renewable energy."

The roundtable discussions offer government leaders the unique 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. Hosted by McKechnie Vehicle Components, the roundtable will bring together a diverse group of small business, industry and community leaders from across the state.

USDA Rural Development continues to assist many small Kentucky businesses. In Nicholasville, for instance, a recent Business and Industry loan guarantee helped McKechnie finance efficiency improvements that are saving money, increasing profits and creating new jobs – with additional growth possible. Those improvements include the implementation of robotics to reduce material and energy consumption, the development of a closed-loop water handling system that eliminates process wastewater and the creation of a process of nickel and chrome recovery that recycles heavy metal that was previously discarded. With the completion of this project, 45 new jobs were created. McKechnie is a leading manufacturer of decorative exterior trim products for companies such as Ford, GM, Toyota, Nissan, Subaru, Volkswagen, Chrysler and Mercedes.

"There is tremendous economic potential in rural America and Rural Development has programs available to help rural businesses succeed, expand and create jobs," said Thomas G. Fern, Kentucky State Director for Rural Development. "Investments in rural communities help drive job creation and lay the foundation for rural communities that are self-sustaining and thriving economically."

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.

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.

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