WASHINGTON, June 9 (UPI) -- The White House Thursday announced the creation of the first nationwide council meant to address the challenges and economic potential rural communities face.
President Obama signed an executive order that establishes the White House Rural Council.
"Strong rural communities are key to a stronger America," Obama said. "That's why I've established the White House Rural Council to make sure we're working across government to strengthen rural communities and promote economic growth."
The council will coordinate programs across government and encourage public-private partnerships to promote economic opportunity and the quality of life in rural communities nationwide, the White House said in a release.
The panel, chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, will be responsible for offering recommendations for investment in rural areas and coordinating federal interaction with stakeholders, including agricultural organizations, small businesses and state, local and tribal governments.
"Rural America makes significant contributions to the security, prosperity and economic strength of our country," Vilsack said. "The Rural Council announced by President Obama shows his continued focus on promoting economic opportunity, creating jobs, and enhancing the quality of life for those who live in rural America."
In the coming months, the council will focus on job creation and economic development by increasing capital going to rural areas, promoting innovation and expanding infrastructures, among other things, the White House said.