ANNAWAN, Ill.–(ENEWSPF)–Sept. 15, 2011 — On Thursday, USDA Rural Development Administrator Judith Canales joined area business leaders in a roundtable discussion at Patriot Renewable Fuels, LLC in Annawan. The purpose of the discussion was to get feedback on how the Administration can work together to improve rural economic conditions and create jobs. The meeting is part of a series of roundtables that are being held across the country this summer and fall with senior Obama Administration officials on behalf of the White House Rural Council.
“Continuing to invest in economic development in our rural communities is vital for sustaining and creating jobs in Illinois,” Canales said. “The Obama Administration is working to ensure that rural Americans have access to basic services and businesses have the tools they need to compete, 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. Gene Griffith, co-founder and president of Patriot Renewable Fuels, LLC, hosted the Annawan roundtable.
Patriot Renewable Fuel, LLC is a locally owned and operated fuel ethanol facility. The firm began production in 2008 and produces 130 million gallons of ethanol a year. USDA asked Patriot to host the roundtable because of its successes as a sizeable rural employer and renewable fuel producer that supports local farmers and businesses, the transportation industry, and local tax supported schools and government.
Patriot invited leaders from a variety of rural businesses in Henry and Whiteside counties and two businesses from the Iowa side of the Mississippi River to participate in the roundtable discussion. Also invited were a representative of local government and an economic development organization.
“USDA Rural Development will continue to increase economic opportunities and make sure that local businesses are aware and taking advantage of the resources and programs this agency offers to help them compete and grow Illinois,” said Colleen Callahan, Illinois USDA Rural Development State Director.
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. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 21 direct or indirect jobs are created for each $1 million invested in infrastructure.
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 Rural Development has helped hundreds of rural Illinois residents start or expand businesses. So far this fiscal year, Rural Development has invested $40 million in Illinois helping rural businesses acquire buildings and equipment, build a facility, refinance or restructure debt, secure needed infrastructure, and access revolving loan funds and business incubators.
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.