Just before President Obama is scheduled to visit Iowa next week, the White House Rural Council has released a report about “Jobs and Economic Security for Rural America.”
U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says in the past few years rural America has developed a “formula” for economic success.
“Farmers understand that you can’t be overly burdened with debt. They understand you have to invest, wisely, resources,” Vilsack says. “They have used research to increase their productivity to an extraordinary extent which has allowed them to export their surplus to the rest of the world and the result is higher incomes for farmers and more jobs connected to those exports.”
Vilsack is chairman of the White House Rural Council and he hints President Obama will make a big announcement next week when the president visits northeast Iowa.
“They’re going to be major. They’re real,” Vilsack says. “They’re significant and they are reflective of a deep understanding of what needs to happen in terms of creating better capitol opportunities, better opportunities for investment in rural America, most innovation, a higher quality of life and better utilitization of the conservation opportunities that we have in rural America.”
Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty offered up a “prize” during Thursday night’s debate in Ames to anyone who could “find Barack Obama’s specific plans” on the “most pressing financial issues of our country.”
“If you can find Barack Obama’s specific plan on any of those items, I will come to your house and cook you dinner,” Pawlent said, getting applause and laughter from the debate audience. “Or, if you prefer, I’ll come to your house and mow your lawn.”
Vilsack, the former Iowa governor, has just moved to Ames with his wife, Christie, who is running for congress. Vilsack says he could “very easily” detail Obama’s economic plans and win Pawlenty’s prize.
“I don’t have much of a lawn for Tim to mow,” Vilsack says, “but dinner would be fine.”
Vilsack says Obama envisions a “government that spends less, but invests resources wisely.” And Vilsack says the country’s ag economy, which is out-performing nearly all other sectors, has the template in place as U.S. farmers have experienced “extraordinary productivity gains” after investing in research and carrying less debt. U.S. grain and livestock exports will set a new record this year.
Next week President Obama will host a “town hall” meeting in Decorah. On Tuesday, Obama will host a “Rural Economic Forum” in Peosta.