FAQ: Does USDA review the overall effect of its programs on rural communities each year?
Answer: Yes. For 2014, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently released the following statement on "Rural America at a Glance", 2014 Edition, an annual report by USDA's Economic Research Service.
"This annual report shows that USDA's investments in rural communities, small businesses, and people are working," says Vilsack. "Rural unemployment has fallen, rural outmigration has declined slightly since last year, and rural poverty has stabilized. These trends are promising, but show there is more work to be done and demonstrate the continued need for USDA's efforts to alleviate persistent rural poverty and expand opportunity in rural America."
New demand for what's grown and made in rural areas
"We've moved quickly to implement new programs and tools in the 2014 Farm Bill that spur economic development and support job creation in rural America," he adds. "In addition, the Made in Rural America initiative helps rural businesses and manufacturers capitalize on new demand for what is grown and made in rural America. The recently-launched $10 billion Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund offers a sustainable platform for private sector investors to inject new support into needed rural infrastructure projects."
"These are just a few of the ways USDA is working to attract and retain a talented rural labor force, improve rural connectivity and access to information and education, move products to market, make communities more competitive, and tap into the unlimited economic potential of rural America."
The "Rural America at a Glance", 2014 Edition report can be viewed here.
To see how USDA has invested in rural communities across the country, visit www.usda.gov/opportunities.