Washington, DC, May 03, 2010 — Last week, President Obama turned his attention to rural America. He visited an ethanol refinery in Missouri, a small CSA farmer in Iowa, and wind turbine blades manufacturer in Iowa. The message was that while farming is important to rural communities, most rural people get their paychecks off the farm. New industries like renewable energies will be key to reviving small towns.
On Air Force One, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said that rural America is facing "a silent crisis." David Sommerstein got a chance to interview Vilsack to ask what he meant. Vilsack says the recession hit rural America decades ago. He says 90% of counties with persistent poverty are in rural areas.