Ladders of opportunity: A magnet for jobs

Farm Forum

In his State of the Union Address, President Obama laid out his plan to make America a magnet for jobs in the generations to come, and further strengthen the middle class. He stressed that in the wealthiest nation on earth, we must build up ladders of opportunity – to ensure that folks who work hard and play by the rules have a chance to get ahead.

The values the President spoke of in his address are shared by many across rural America. Our farmers, ranchers, rural businesses and families are committed to the value of hard work. They agree that we owe today’s young people the opportunity to get ahead. They know that we must continue working to alleviate rural poverty to build up the middle class across our nation.

The President’s first priority is to make America a magnet for jobs – and when it comes to job creation, there’s no place like rural America.

Our farmers and ranchers support one in 12 American jobs today, with unlimited potential in the years ahead as we grow and export more. Exports of quality U.S. agricultural products already support more than a million jobs here at home, and USDA will continue working with the President to open new markets for U.S. agriculture in Europe, Asia and around the world.

Homegrown energy already supports hundreds of thousands of rural jobs. We’ll need rural America to lead the way in meeting the President’s goal to further cut reliance on foreign oil, while doubling renewable energy production in America once again. President Obama has proposed a new “Energy Security Trust” that will enable additional research of advanced technologies, including homegrown biofuels, to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

The manufacturing jobs of the future aren’t just in our cities. Rural companies are leading the way to produce thousands of amazing new biobased products. There is unlimited opportunity for rural America to produce even more of these products from homegrown sources, creating millions of jobs in the process.

And if we are to undertake a unified effort to rebuild the nation’s aging infrastructure, which President Obama proposed, we’ll need folks across rural America to help get the job done.

All of us are blessed to call this nation home, and President Obama knows that together we can achieve even more. Rural America can lead the way, making sure that America leads the world in job creation, while building up new ladders of opportunity for the next generation.