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Today (Thursday) is the day of the “rural summit” outside St. Louis, in Hillsboro. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack will meet with “agricultural leaders, farmers, ranchers, community leaders, and rural residents who shared their vision and ideas to rebuild and revitalize rural America,” according to a USDA press release. This is all part of the Obama administration’s “Rural Tour” that began earlier in the year. 

“A strong American economy depends on a prosperous rural America,” said Vilsack, according to a advanced released of the Secretary’s remarks. “The Obama administration is committed to ensuring that America’s rural communities are vibrant and thriving economically and last year made an unprecedented commitment to this revitalization with the Recovery Act.”

Vilsack’s remarks to the press have been less upbeat. “There are lots of reasons people should be concerned (about rural America,)” Vilsack told reporter Georgina Gustin of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this week. High poverty, declining populations, low incomes and high unemployment were all reasons for worry, the Ag Secretary said.

Vilsack has continually tried to tie rural and urban prosperity. “The reason you can live in that nice house in the suburb and can be a member of that country club is because you spend less of your income on food,” Vilsack said.

If you want to watch this thing live, go here

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