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USDA-RD PRESENTATION TO NACO WESTERN INTERSTATE REGION ANCHORAGE, AK MAY 22, 2014 White House Rural Council “Made in Rural America”
“ I’m directing my administration to launch a new “Made in Rural America” Initiative to help more rural businesses expand and hire and sell more products stamped Made in the USA to the rest of the world” President Barack Obama, February 7, 2014
Trade and investment are critical to growth and the health of our economy
More than 95% of consumers and 80% of projected growth in middle-class consumers over the next few years are outside the United States. Companies across the United States are seizing the opportunity to make global sales. Exports drove nearly one-third of U.S. economic growth since 2009.
American businesses have driven record exports for four consecutive years, reaching $2.3 trillion in 2013. Exports now support 11.3 million jobs throughout the United States. Every $1 billion in U.S. exports supports 5000 U.S. jobs.
2013 was a record year for exports of American food and agricultural products at $148 billion. According to the Council of Economic Advisors, overall U.S. net farm income for 2013 was $131 billion, a 46% increase from 2008 when adjusted for inflation, the highest since 1973.
President Obama stated: “We’ve had the strongest stretch of farm exports in our history. We are selling more stuff to more people than ever before. What we grow here and what we sell is huge boost to the entire economy, but particularly the rural economy”
Its time to build on the success of agricultural exports and expand to other rural goods and services.
For many small rural businesses entering the export market is challenging. They are often unaware both of the opportunity and the federal resources supporting exports. Ensuring that rural companies can capitalize on international opportunities to grow their business is key to advancing economic growth in rural areas A strong rural economy is essential to our nation’s overall economic health.
At the signing of the Farm Bill in February President Obama announced the “Made in Rural America” initiative. It is based on the results of a national fact finding tour of rural communities by the White House Rural Council, which is chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Based on the tour, President Obama instructed the Council to bring together federal resources to help rural businesses and leaders take advantage of new investment opportunities and access new customers and markets abroad. “I’m directing my administration to launch a new “Made in Rural America” initiative to help more rural businesses expand and hire and sell more products stamped Made in the USA to the rest of the world”
“Made in Rural America” commits to connecting more rural businesses of all types to export information and assistance through a comprehensive strategy that involves the: U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Commerce, Small Business Administration, Export-Import Bank Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
Show the way for rural companies to export goods and services by connecting them to information and assistance. Meet rural businesses where they are and educate local leaders on ways to export. Make sure more rural businesses of all types and sizes can compete in the global economy. “Made in Rural America” is designed to
Seven objectives for “Made in Rural America” by the end of 2014 Host five “Made in Rural America” regional forums. Convene an “Investing in Rural America” conference later this year to connect major investors with rural business leaders, high-level government officials, economic development experts, and other partners. Train local USDA Rural Development staff with the tools they need to counsel businesses on export opportunities and resources.
Provide export counseling for rural businesses to connect with foreign buyers through the U.S. Export Assistance Center. Promote rural-produced goods and services at trade missions, buyer programs, trade shows, and other promotion programs. Partner with the NACo to educate local leaders on the importance of rural exports and to connect them with federal export resources. Use the BusinessUSA online platform to better connect rural businesses with export and investment resources.
Regional Forums Five “Made in Rural America” regional forums will be held. The forums will convene a significant number of small and medium-sized businesses with export potential, and local leaders and community organizations, to provide tailored information on global opportunities and export resources.
One of the biggest hurdles to a company starting to export is understanding that it can be done and ways to do it. The forums will address that “fear factor” and lay the groundwork for a local assistance network that will support rural business growth into the global marketplace.
The forums will help rural businesses identify growth opportunities by finding new customers overseas or by selling more to their existing international customers. They will showcase successful rural exporting operations and examine hurdles associated with rural exporting.
The regional forums will be held in the: Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Pacific Northwest, and Southwest.
Hosting Partners include the Appalachian Regional Commission, Delta Regional Authority, National Association of Counties, federal field staff, state regional trade groups, and state governments. The date, place and agenda for the first forum in the Northeast is set, see handout.
Targeted Forums The Administration intends supplement regional forums with location-specific and issue-specific forums. Supplemental forums will be limited by local partner commitment and the capacity of headquarters and local staff. Likely targeted forums include: a Native America owned business event; a Hawaii and Pacific region event; and potentially a veteran-owned businesses.
Partnering with the Private Sector Following the President’s announcement several private companies have offered to join the effort and potentially contribute resources including: infrastructure by communications providers, assistance from logistics firms, and transportation assistance from freight service providers.
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