Leaders praise Obama's focus on Rural America
By Sara Wyant
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
CHARLOTTE, NC. Sept. 4, 2012 - Rural leaders from across the United States, including Secretary Tom Vilsack, Senator Mark Begich of Alaska, and Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana outlined the Obama Administration's accomplishments during a meeting of the Rural Council Tuesday at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
With record farm income and exports, a robust renewable energy platform and the creation of the White House Rural Council, Secretary Vilsack talked about how President Obama has strengthened Rural America, according to Rod Snyder, the National Corn Growers Association's Director of Public Policy. Snyder also serves as President of the Young Democrats of America.
In contrast to former President Bush, who vetoed a farm bill twice, President Obama has been forecefully pushing the GOP leadership to move a new farm bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, added Snyder.
“The Secretary laid out a very strong case, in great detail, as to why the President deserves the support of rural America,” noted Marshall Matz, who chaired the 2008 Obama Ag Committee.
National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson, who also spoke during the Rural Council meeting, agreed.
“The Obama Administration has been immensively supportive of the development of value-added agriculture through the renewable fuels industry and Secretary Vilsack has been a fabulous supporter, as well,” Johnson noted.
Alaska Senator Mark Begich highlighted the dedication of the Democratic Party to rural communities and the Obama administration's efforts to provide telecommunications and broadband access for rural communities.
John Carson, who leads the White House Office of Public Engagement, told the approximately 250 people gathered for the afternoon session that rural counties made a crucial difference in President Obama's 2008 election and will likely play a key role again in 2012.
Late Tuesday evening, Secretary Vilsack also spoke to representatives of major farm organizations and agribusinesses, gathered at the Mint Museum, at a reception organized by the Leaders of American Agriculture LLC.
"Agriculture is back again. It is cool again,” Vilsack told the evening crowd.
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