On Wednesday, March 27, 2013, Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Doug O'Brien met with local and regional officials to discuss ways USDA can help businesses create jobs and stimulate local economies. The United States Department of Agriculture remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty.
"I am proud to support and highlight the great work under way here to bring economic opportunity to Mississippi's rural communities," O'Brien said during a Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator event at Mississippi State University. "Public-private partnerships are some of the best ways to leverage resources for job creation and business development."
Mississippi State University received a $1 million award from the Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator challenge. It is a partnership among 13 federal agencies and bureaus, including USDA, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Delta Regional Authority and the Appalachian Regional Commission. The university is using its award to focus on job creation in manufacturing, agribusiness, energy and natural resources, technology and tourism.
The Jobs Accelerator is a critical component of the Obama Administration's efforts to support small businesses. It complements ongoing USDA programs. For example, Forest Free Range LLC, a small business in central Miss., recently received an $87,326 USDA Rural Development grant that created four jobs and saved two existing ones. The company used its USDA Value-Added Producer Grant to develop free-range, grass-fed gourmet meats for elite restaurants and other customers in New Orleans.
President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $700 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.
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