How the American Jobs Act Applies to Rural America

Vilsack says bill promotes confidence, infrastructure and creativity.

Published on: Sep 13, 2011

The whole nation is abuzz about President Obama's latest attempt to boost the economy. But how does the American Jobs Act apply to our farmers and ranchers? Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says it all starts with confidence.

"Everybody in the country obviously wants to get this economy going again, because once it gets going again then folks are in a better position to be confident about purchasing more in grocery stores and other consumer places," Vilsack said. "So it's important for producers that folks feel confident; to do that we need small businesses and our farms and ranches to employ folks and to feel confident about being able to do so."

Vilsack says that's where cutting payroll taxes by 3.5% comes into play, helping small business hire and grow. Vilsack says another part of the plan would address a very important aspect of agriculture – infrastructure.

"You know to get product to markets they need better roads, they need better rail systems, they need better lock and dam systems, they need better ports," Vilsack said. "All that infrastructure is expensive but it also puts people to work building, so the President is calling for a effort to rebuild and modernize America and put people back to work immediately with infrastructure."

But with the President suggesting the plan won't add to the deficit, some are curious where the money to pay for it is going to come from.

"We are going to have to be creative, we're going to have to be innovative, we're going to have to be smarter and we're going to have to be making some tough choices," Vilsack said. "But we're still going to be providing the services that people want and need and we're still going to have that safety net that is so important for farmers and producer, particularly in a year where we've seen historic fires and floods, and tornados and drought. It reminds us of the importance of maintaining that safety net and the importance of conservation."

Vilsack admits the effort is a short-term one, just to get the economy back on track, but says that the long-range plan already in place plays to the strengths of rural America with an emphasis on renewable energy and bio-based products.