The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


Obama team lists 10 accomplishments in rural America

Obama for America has published a paper listing 10 ways in which it says the Obama administration has helped create a stronger rural economy.

“President Obama is making the rural economy built to last — one focused on reclaiming the security of the rural middle class by growing products that the rest of the world buys, and restoring the basic values of hard work and fair play that made our country great,” the document says.

In a reflection of the fact that even in rural America, the percentage of voters who are farmers is small, the list includes many nonagricultural rural development items as well as farm issues. The paper says that the Obama administration has:

  1. Boosted small business by extending credit to a record number of small business owners, cut taxes for small business 18 times and proposed the Buffett Rule change to the tax code.
  2. Built a clean-energy economy and promoted energy independence by implementing the Renewable Fuel Standard and making grants and loans that have supported more than 5,700 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
  3. Improved infrastructure by expanding broadband access to nearly 7 million rural Americans and building bridges, roads, rail and waste and water projects in rural America.
  4. Opened new markets for farm exports, which have reached a record level, and also by expanding regional markets and farmers’ markets.
  5. Improved the farm safety net by expanding the availability of crop insurance and providing emergency disaster assistance to 575,000 farms and ranches that have experienced natural disasters or crop loss.
  6. Implemented educational and home ownership benefits for veterans, which disproportionately helps rural Americans because so many soldiers come from rural America.
  7. Improved rural education by providing funds for small and low-income rural schools and for community facilities projects including 736 education facilities and 433 libraries.
  8. Helped 1.25 million rural Americans stay in their homes by providing programs to purchase and refinance houses and by launching a pilot program in 19 states to refinance home loans and lower mortgage interest rates.
  9. Made health care affordable by funding 444 community health centers and making other improvements through the Affordable Care Act.
  10. Promoted the outdoor recreation industry by helping farmers implement conservation practices, expanded wilderness protection and promoting outdoor recreation.