President Obama Releases Reports on Rural Economy

Two reports detail economic progress in rural America from job creation to energy production and trade health.

Published on: Jun 12, 2012

President Obama announced Monday $400 million in investments for small and rural businesses through the Small Business Administration's Small Business Investment Company program, which helps rural American businesses expand and modernize.

The program, which was introduced last August, will see an additional $2 billion in investments by the end of fiscal year 2016. A complete list of locations, amounts and industries that have benefited from the program can be found here. 

According to a new report, the rural sector has grown over the course of FY2011.
According to a new report, the rural sector has grown over the course of FY2011.

Another progress report, found here, detailing economic progress for the farm economy and rural American jobs was released alongside the SBIC report by the Council of Economic Advisers, the White House Rural Council and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Highlights from the report include:

Innovation: Innovation in U.S. agriculture has kept America's farms among the most productive in the world.  U.S. farm sector income reached a nominal record of $98.1 billion in 2011. Adjusting for general inflation, real farm income in 2011 recorded its 3rd highest level in the last 50 years.

Exports: American agriculture has enjoyed a trade surplus, with record levels of farm exports at $137.4 billion for fiscal year 2011. The President's National Export Initiative has opened new markets for U.S. agricultural products and services and contributed to a historic level of agricultural exports.  Once fully implemented, free trade agreements with Korea, Panama, and Colombia are projected to boost U.S. agricultural exports by $2.3 billion per year.

Clean Energy: The Administration has pursued polices that promote domestic energy alternatives like biofuels, bioenergy, and wind power to provide new opportunities for farmers, ranchers, and forest managers. Pursuit of a clean energy and energy efficiency strategy saved Americans a projected 6.5 billion kWh – enough energy to power over 590,000 homes for a year – and nearly doubled the amount of installed wind energy generation in the U.S. over the past three years from about 25,000 MW in 2008 to 47,000 MW in 2011.

New Industries: The Administration has supported new industry diversification within the agricultural economy.  The retail value of the organic industry grew to $31.4 billion in 2011, up from $21.1 billion in 2008. The number of operations certified organic grew by 1,109 – or more than 6% – between 2009 and 2011.

Community Investment: The rural economy has been strengthened by investments in over 6,250 new community facilities.  Additionally, over the last three years, 12,000 USDA grants and loans have been issued to assist over 50,000 rural small businesses.