Yesterday USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced he will eliminate the position of Undersecretary of Rural Development, the office that oversees a broad portfolio of rural community development programs. USDA Rural Development programs directly affect many, if not most, of the communities that Rural Assembly members serve.
Below is our statement about the USDA reorganization. To see some of the many other responses to this development, see the article published this afternoon in the Daily Yonder.
The reorganization of USDA, particularly the elimination of the Undersecretary of Rural Development, is worrisome. It suggests an antiquated understanding of rural communities, who they are and where they are going.
The primary economic drivers in rural America are no longer tied only to agriculture. Rural people are more concerned with achieving economic vitality through increased broadband access, new economy jobs, stronger infrastructure, educational opportunities and affordable healthcare.
Rural America in the 21st century is a place of great diversity and opportunity, and rural people deserve a Rural Development program that will support the promise of rural America.