At the Rural Economic Forum in Peosta, IA, Center for Rural Affairs Executive Director Chuck Hassebrook spoke with President Obama and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Here's his account - and your backstage pass - to the meeting.
I spoke with President Obama and Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack last week at the Rural Economic Forum in Peosta, Iowa.
The decisions we make in this time of economic and budget crisis define who we are as a nation and
shape our future. Cuts will be made in farm and rural spending. The most important decision is how
Modernizing our transmission grid represents a major potential source of job creation. By some estimates, transmission investment in the United States will range from $12 billion to $16 billion annually through 2030.
Every $1 billion of US transmission investment supports approximately 13,000 full-time years of employment. So over a 20-year period, 150,000 to 200,000 full-time years of employment could be created annually simply by updating and expanding our electric grid.
Over one-third of the jobs will be supported directly by domestic construction, engineering, and transmission component manufacturing activities. Approximately 125 operations and maintenance positions are created per $1 billion of transmission additions, in many cases providing employment throughout the life of the project.
Soil erosion is a growing concern in areas of the country where native sod and fragile lands are being busted up in response to high grain prices. In fact, the concern is coming from farmers themselves.
This three bedroom Prairie Style home is located on the vineyard of Dorothy and David Davis. It features a four acre mature vineyard near Agra, OK. Source: VineSmart.com
Kevin Ford and Family-Kansas: Kevin (former high school teacher with 2 young daughters) and his wife currently farm 3 acres of “borrowed” land near Topeka where they grow organic vegetables. The young family would like to expand their operation and is looking for 5-15 acres to farm.
Kevin told me, “We would be willing to partner with an older farmer who has done this for a while, or take over an operation for a retiring farmer. However, we would really like to find land with an old worn-out farmhouse and some outbuildings and revitalize the place over time. It would need to be within reasonable traveling distance to a city with a good population.” A well or another water source for irrigation is also needed.