Related Rural Blog Posts

  • Spotlight on Rural America

    Today, I am hosting a forum focused on the rural economy at the Iowa State Fair.  But, Rural America has been in the spotlight all this week as I joined President Obama to travel across parts of Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois, visiting rural communities to discuss his Administration’s efforts to create jobs and drive economic growth.  From investments in rural broadband to efforts to support small-business innovation, the President talked about his commitment to rural America – and he listened to what local residents had to say. 

    The centerpiece of his trip was the Rural Economic Forum, held Tuesday at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta.  There, 200 small business owners, farmers, retirees, elected officials and others came together to discuss their ideas for a revitalized rural economy.  I was pleased to participate in that forum, along with my Cabinet colleagues Housing and Urban Development Secretary Donovan, Transportation Secretary LaHood, and Administrator Mills of the Small Business Administration.

    President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack

    President Barack Obama, accompanied by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, holds a breakout session at the White House Rural Economic Forum at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Iowa, Aug. 16, 2011, as part of his three-day economic bus tour of the Midwest. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    After opening remarks by the President, the participants broke into a series of small discussion groups – with topics ranging from agricultural innovation and energy opportunities to small business to infrastructure.  Each group developed a series of ideas and recommendations, which will become part of a larger report to the White House Rural Council that I chair.

    I had the opportunity to facilitate the Ag Innovation and Energy break-out session, with about 20 farmers, ranchers, and other officials.  Our discussion – which the President joined for a few minutes – touched on the importance of the renewable energy sector and new markets, as well as particular barriers to growing the rural economy through agricultural innovation.

  • West Wing Week 8/19/11 or "Get On the Bus"

    Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, the President welcomed the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers to the White House before heading out on a three day bus tour across the midwestern states of Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois.  During his tour through the heartland, the President heard directly from Americans including small business owners, local families and private sector leaders who talked about the need for faster economic growth, strengthening the middle class and accelerating hiring in communities and towns across the nation. That's August 12th to August 18th or "Get on the Bus."

    Watch West Wing Week here.

  • Local Leaders Discuss the President’s Rural Tour

    This week President Obama traveled through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois holding town hall meetings with residents in rural communities.  We heard from several state and local officials who attended the events on the impact of the President’s Rural Tour and what it meant to their communities:

    Linn County Supervisor Lu Barron attended the Rural Economic Forum with the President in Peosta, Iowa:

    [The] forum was a true cross-section of rural America, including farmers, small business owners and local governments and it provided us the opportunity to discuss critical issues facing rural communities and bring them to the attention of the President and key administration officials. It’s important for all of us to work with the Administration to strengthen our rural communities so they can thrive.

  • President Obama's Rural Message: There's Nothing Wrong with our Country

    President Obama in Alpha, Illinois

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a town hall meeting at Country Corner Farm in Alpha, Ill., Aug. 17, 2011, his last stop on a three-day bus tour in the Midwest focusing on ways to grow the economy. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

    This week President Obama traveled to the Midwest where he met with Americans in rural towns and communities in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. The purpose of his trip, dubbed the Economic Rural Tour 2011, was to talk to people from different walks of life about what is happening in our country right now. The President was there to talk, but also to listen.

    And in town halls, county fairs and an economic forum, Americans shared their hopes for the future and their concerns about the economy and what it means for their businesses and their families. On Wednesday, the President told a crowd of 250 people gathered for a town hall meeting on a farm in Alpha, Ill that he will soon be putting out new proposals designed to put people back to work right away. He said that some of the plans will cost money, and that we will pay for them by doing more on deficit reduction than is required by the Budget Control Act he signed earlier this month.

  • Watch This: Highlights of the President's Tour through Rural Iowa

    President Obama headed to Decorah, IA on Monday afternoon, where he joined a crowd of 500 locals for a town hall meeting. Topics covered ranged from the difference between divided government and dysfunctional government, America's proud history as a nation of innovation and the importance of agriculture in the American economy. The next day, he was in Peosta for the White House Rural Economic Forum. Along the way, he enjoyed some of the state's beautiful scenery.

    Go behind the scenes with the President as he meets with the people of Decorah and Peosta, attends the Rural Economic Forum, and travels through rural Iowa.

    Watch the video about the President's Rural Tour here.

    Interested in seeing more of the President's rural road trip? Take a look at how he spent his morning in Minnesota.

  • Watch This: Highlights of the President's Tour through Rural Minnesota

    On Monday, President Obama visited Cannon Falls, Minnesota where he talked with a crowd of 500 locals at Hannah’s Bend Park. During the town hall meeting, the President discussed the challenges that Americans have faced over the past year and reiterated his belief that there is “nothing wrong with America that can’t be fixed; what’s broken is our politics.” Later, the President traveled to the Old Market Deli where he had lunch with a group of veterans and was welcomed to the state by a local cowboy. 

    Go behind the scenes with the President as he meets with the people of Cannon Falls, eats at the Old Market Deli and travels through rural Minnesota.

    Interested in more White House video? Take a look at  the highlights of the President's trip through Iowa.