Jonathan Adelstein, administrator of the Rural Utilities Service with USDA has been in North Carolina this week meeting utility and telephone groups in rural areas of the state, learning about their needs, and checking on the progress of several USDA projects around the state:
“I just came from a White House Business Council…president Obama sent me around the country, along with a number of other senior administration officials to hear from business leaders about what we can do to really revitalize rural communities, spur job creation and get the economy moving as fast as we can.
We’re leaving Washington behind to hear from people that are involved in electric generation, involved in broadband, water projects, we really had a great group of leaders from across the state of North Carolina that are building the infrastructure that will be here for the next generation.”
“Now, another thing that falls into your prevue that has been a big topic of conversation all over rural America, and North Carolina in particular, is broadband.”
“That’s right. A lot of people don’t realize that USDA is the place where the Recovery Act invested millions of dollars in getting broadband out to every corner of the United States. Without broadband, I don’t think ag producers can reach their full potential, rural areas won’t have young people stay in areas without broadband. Today we heard from Yadkin Valley telephone’s CEO, and we heard from Lumbee River’s CEO about what’s happening in their communities…people starting businesses, internet cafes, selling things over e-bay, working from home. People want the rural quality of life that they can get in these beautiful parts of North Carolina, but they can’t really stay and work and grow businesses without broadband. It’s fundamental.
That’s why we have invested at USDA in rural broadband expansion. Secretary Vilsack has said it’s a pillar of economic development.”
“It really is. And I know that grain elevators in particular are very excited to see broadband come their way.”
“Well, they really need it to check commodity prices, to move product, to sell and buy…it’s critical. And places with a lot of livestock, it’s something they use to buy livestock at auction, they’re doing live auctions without having to come in, without having to physically participate in the auction, they can do it virtually. But, with out broadband they had to travel, they might be busy back at their ag production facility. So, without it I don’t’ think agriculture can be as efficient as it is becoming, as it’s becoming so technologically dependant. “
Administrator of the Rural Utilities Service for USDA, Jonathan Adelstein on Today’s Topic.