Rural Development Invests $1 Billion

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With a change in presidential administrations just two months away, politically appointed leaders within the U.S. Department of Agriculture are swapping out.
Director for USDA Rural Development Colleen Callahan is getting ready to move on and says Rural Development was able to invest about $1 billion during the Obama Administration, impacting hundreds of thousands of producers.
Those producers now are in business to add value to the local foods market by 2019, which is expected to be a $20 billion value.
She says the Obama administration had four pillars: production agriculture, biobased economy, conservation, and local food systems. Those pillars influenced how they invested money.
While there's uncertainty in how the USDA will change, the staff in offices around the country will stay the same and the ongoing programs will stick around for now.
Callahan says, "A new administration will come in and they'll create their own identity and they'll have their own initiatives. But in the mean time, while we are under a continuing resolution financially and until that gets extended or or until there is a full budget that has been approved it really will be business as usual so it will stay the same until it changes."
Callahan adds, looking back, Illinois and Iowa have specifically benefited from Rural Development's value added producer grant, which is designed to help local agriculture producers process or market their food.



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