The United States Department of Agriculture hosted a roundtable on job creation and economic growth Friday at Indiana Farm Bureau in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. Approximately 130 individuals attended the event aimed at exploring new ideas and solutions for a rapid economic recovery across Indiana rural communities along with plans to generate Hoosier jobs.
“The forum provided an opportunity for residents, business owners and community leaders across the state to share ideas on creating jobs and economic opportunities,” Phil Lehmkuhler, USDA Rural Development Indiana State Director said. “Government can help lay the groundwork for economic growth, but the best ideas for continued growth and job creation often come from local and community leaders. I am anxious to forward the ideas presented today to the Administration.”
Joining USDA Rural Development as co-sponsors of the forum were USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Indiana Department of Agriculture, and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA).
“Collaboration is key for a prosperous and robust agricultural industry in Indiana. The coalition of hosts for this roundtable discussion is indicative of the diverseness of the agricultural interests in our state. Indiana FSA programs are available every day to help provide resources to farmers during this extraordinary time of economic challenge. FSA proudly serves the American farmer and consumer, and offers programs ranging from conservation to commodity operations and from farm loans to biomass energy. FSA stands ready to assist whomever walks through our doors in rural Indiana,” said Julia A. Wickard, State Executive Director of the USDA Farm Service Agency.
“It’s important for the state and federal agencies to come together to collaborate on local economic growth. NRCS is able to bring dollars into local communities through the conservation Farm Bill programs, including increased incentives to beginning and limited resource farmers. We also have staff working on community development projects throughout the state in local Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) offices, which offer many opportunities for collaboration,” said NRCS State Conservationist Jane Hardisty.
“Rural Indiana faces unique challenges in today’s tough economy,” said David Terrell, Executive Director of the Office of Community and Rural Affairs. “The roundtable was an opportunity to discuss creative ways to build economic capacity in our state’s rural communities.”
“I am excited to see discussion continuing to take place on improving and sustaining improvements in rural Indiana,” said Indiana Agriculture Director Joe Kelsay. “Agriculture has been a cornerstone of Indiana’s economy throughout its history and will continue to play a critical role in our nation’s economic recovery and future. Agriculture is a key player to bring jobs, capital investment and wealth to our communities through enhanced partnerships with businesses and citizens who share the same desire for Indiana to succeed.”
The roundtable included business owners, residents, state and local officials, non-profit organizations, community leaders, economists, and other interested parties. Participants discussed steps that can to be taken to grow the economy and put Americans back to work.
The forum was moderated by Elaine Fischer of Ball State University’s Building Better Communities.
Submitted by Darrell J. Mowery
Public Information Coordinator
USDA Rural Development
Indiana State Office
To learn more, go to the Rural Development and FSA Job Roundtables Schedule, and the News Release, “USDA to Host Roundtables on Jobs, Economic Growth”