ABC News’ Mary Bruce reports:
President Obama is creating a special advisory council aimed at promoting economic growth and boosting the quality of life in rural areas, the White House announced today.
“Strong rural communities are key to a stronger America,” Obama said in a written statement. “That’s why I’ve established the White House Rural Council to make sure we’re working across government to strengthen rural communities."
The council, chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, will provide recommendations to the president on investments in rural areas and coordinate engagement with small businesses, agricultural organizations and tribal governments.
In the coming months, the council will focus on increasing access to education, job training and health care for the roughly 60 million Americans that live in rural areas.
“What we hope to be able to do in the rural council is figure out even more creative ways to look for investments in research and development that increase productivity and figure out ways in which we can significantly increase the economic opportunities from agriculture,” Vilsack told reporters on a conference call today. Agriculture is responsible for one out of every 12 jobs in America.
Vilsack also responded to today’s news that the USDA has lowered its projection for this year’s corn harvest, saying he was confident that producers will meet demands.
“Production is projected at 13.2 billion bushels of corn which, while it’s down from last month’s projection, is still a record and up 753 million bushels more than last year. I continue to have faith and confidence in the producers in this country to be able to produce sufficient supplies to meet the various needs that we’ve created for our crops,” he said.