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USDA releases annual ‘Rural America’ report

By Staff | Dec 11, 2015

The annual report of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service – “Rural America at a Glance, 2015”- has just been published.

Here are some of the most significant informational highlights contained in this immensely useful compendium:

1). Rural employment is up.

2). America’s rural population did not decline during the most recent year.

3). The incidence of rural child poverty is down slightly – 1 percent.

On Nov. 30, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack issued a statement calling attention to the report’s release and sharing his appraisal of the meaning of the trends it documents.

“The report … demonstrates the continued need for targeted investments in rural people and places,” Vilsack said. “USDA’s nutrition programs, the StrikeForce Initiative for Rural Growth and Opportunity, and the Rural Impact effort, which focuses on a multi-generational approach to public and private investments in rural families and communities, work together to address persistent rural poverty, particularly among children.”

The secretary called attention to the ongoing efforts by his department and the Obama administration to stimulate rural job and business growth. He said these initiatives include expanding access to credit and capital through USDA’s Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund and the Rural Business Investment Companies and the Small Business Administration’s commitment to increasing credit to rural small businesses by $2 billion.

“Collectively, these investments work to attract and retain a talented rural labor force, make rural communities more competitive and support the businesses and families that call America’s rural areas home,” Vilsack said.

Farm News welcomes the availability of this fact-filled report.

Readers are urged to check it out online at www.ers.usda.gov/publications/eib-economic-information-bulletin/eib-145.aspx.

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