Tribune of Nivory Gordon, Alabama State Manager, USDA Rural Development
Growing up on my family’s farm in Wilcox County, Alabama, I witnessed first-hand many of the challenges faced by families living in rural communities across the state. We had no public access to water in the eastern part of the county. My family used individual wells for our water supply. My family members had to travel long distances to receive essential health services. I have seen the struggle farmers and ranchers go through to feed Alabama.
Last week, President Biden used his first State of the Union address to talk about where our country is and where we are headed.
The president mentioned a lot of things we can be proud of and even more to look forward to, especially in rural America.
The country has faced profound challenges over the past year, and the people of rural America know it better than anyone.
But rural communities are resilient, and as rural America’s success goes, so does the rest of the country.
That’s why the progress we’ve made in rural Alabama over the past year is a good sign for everyone. By investing in water and broadband infrastructure, rural business opportunities, and America’s food supply chain, USDA helps communities build the foundation for sustained economic growth.
Through the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program and the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program, we are responding to the President’s call to create more resilient, diverse and secure supply chains. Promoting competition in the processing sector will mean fairer prices for farmers, greater value for workers, and more affordable, healthier food produced closer to home for families.
These investments create jobs and economic opportunities in rural areas. They help grow the economy from the bottom up and from the middle as the president said. And they contribute to a circular economy where the resources and wealth we build in rural Alabama stays right here in Alabama.
And they are just the beginning. In the State of the Union, President Biden has pledged to build a nationwide network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations, begin replacing toxic lead pipes, so that every child and every American has clean water to drink at home and at school, to provide high-speed Internet for all Americans – urban, suburban, rural and tribal communities.
The Biden-Harris administration’s plan for the economy is already producing historic wins, and anyone can participate, regardless of zip code.
That’s why we’re optimistic that our best days are ahead of us.
By giving everyone a fair chance and providing equitable access to federal resources, we can do our part to realize the President’s economic vision. That means making more stuff right here at home, strengthening our supply chains, and lowering costs for working families. It means giving people the opportunity to earn a good living without having to leave the communities they know and love.
For many of us, that means staying here in rural Alabama.