Posted on Thursday, June 30th, 2011 by Amanda

DK to DC

It was just confirmed last night, FoodHub’s own Deborah Kane has been invited to The White House (!) next week as a “Champion of Change”.  She will be representing the interests of rural agriculture in the FoodHub region at a roundtable discussion hosted by a newly established entity, The White House Rural Council.

As we first mentioned in this FoodHub blog post a couple of weeks ago, on June 9th President Obama established the Council, the mission of which is to, “promote economic prosperity and quality of life in rural America.” According to this press release, the council’s activities in the coming weeks and months will focus on job creation and economic development by increasing the flow of capital to rural areas and promoting innovation, among other tactics.

Our question to you is, what do you want Deborah to tell The White House?

Deborah wants to get on the plane to DC Tuesday armed with a full slate of ideas, innovations and creative thinking going on in the rural areas of our region so that she can highlight and elevate them, and the people and organizations working on them, as possible solutions to meet the challenges facing rural America.

Obviously there isn’t much time, and the holiday weekend is almost upon us. To share your thoughts and work, please do one of three things:

  • Comment on this blog post or on FoodHub’s Facebook page (best for short commentary on key priorities and/or links to projects).
  • Answer two key questions on this survey (room for longer comments and explanations).
  • Send an email to (please keep any attachments under 2MB).

Deborah and the FoodHub team will comb through all the input and summarize key themes and great ideas to share at the roundtable in Washington on Wednesday. Obviously not every good idea will get discussed that day, but will be provided directly to the leadership of the USDA, and we will post a summary so that all the input and ideas are shared within the region.

We will also of course post pictures and stories when Deborah gets back!

7 Responses to “DK to DC”

  1. Brad Averill says:

    The most fundamental issue facing America, be it urban or rural, is the increasingly unequal distribution of wealth in America. It deprives anyone not in the top 10% of the money they need to live, let alone the discretionary income to grow the economy. Further, the unequal distribution of wealth leads to a pervasive feeling that we are not part of America anymore. Power is out of our reach. Opportunity is out of our reach. We have become (not are becoming but have become) serfs in our country. The most important thing to do to meet our crisis is to reform the tax system so that we have a truly progressive tax system that brings in enough revenue to fund programs that offer a safety net to those in need and also invests in America’s future, be it education, infrastructure, R&D, etc etc etc. The current low marginal tax rates – and I say this a business owner – discourage re-investment of profits in one’s business to further grow the business and encourage the owner to take the money out of the business because the tax rates on capital gains and even high income are at historic lows. We must make very clear that the mantra that high marginal tax rates and high tax rates on capital gain discourage investment is wrong. It is just the opposite. High tax rates encourage investment because the owner would rather reinvest in his own business rather than give the money to the government.

  2. Joanne Rigutto says:

    I’d be in favor of excellerated depreciation of livestock (especially breeding livestock, poultry, fowl) and equipment, buildings, etc. It would also be nice to be able to deduct the cost of all feed purchased in a year (calendar or fiscal, which ever the business uses) in the year that the feed or forage was purchased. I used to purchase all of my hay for the year during the summer when hay was less expensive. But the way the tax laws are written, I can only deduct that feed I give to my animals during the tax year. I used to put up 20 ton of hay in July and August when I could buck it out of the field. But the way the tax laws are written right now, I decided to save myself the trouble. Why carry all that expense if I can’t deduct it in the year the expense was incurred and have to split each year’s hay order? Now I just buy my hay as I use it from a hay dealer, who in turn is buying it from the farm at wholesale, where I was paying less than I pay the hay dealer, but I was paying the farmer more than the hay dealer pays.

  3. Footbridge Farm says:

    In a (hyphenated) word: Over-regulation.

  4. Marian Gillis says:

    I like Brad’s post.

    Federal tax policy is key.
    Rather than a rural/urban distinction— we have the real distinction of the Haves and the Have- nots. All of us know that there are two sides to a budget, Income and Expenses. It Is important to cut a host of unnecesary Expenses. We must also look at the Income side of teh federal budget and the numerous Tax breaks that have decreased revenue substantially over the decades– DC has the objective data/charts that show this.

    I understand that we could be out of the woods economically if we just let the Busch tax cuts sunset, as agreed, when they were insituted. Let sleeping dogs lie; so to speak. Take 15% off the defense budget, as Business and Militray leaders have been requesting since they formed teh Priorities Campaign in 1990.

    Meanwhile, Reinvent Government
    Create opportunities for leaner Regional government entities to flower and distribute federal incentives. Keep dollars circulating regionally– that will put a paycheck on every kitchen table in a region. In aggregate those paychecks Are the local economy. Eco derives from the Greek, oik, which means house or household. Ecology and Economy are two sides of one coin– they are not distinctly different nor are they at odds. So many skills are being lost—no longer passed on- because processing and aprrenticeships are no longer available in our regional eco-nomies.

    To build a better regional economy we need Financial Incentives that make direct marketing possible between urban and rural entities in each region. Food Hub does this. To do more we need a big investment in infrastructure. Provide incentives for the finest Transportation– that work will put a paycheck on the table as it creates opportunities for economic activity. Create incentives for locally owned energy sources, local food distribution, etc. Bring people together to plan regionally. Do away with outmoded layers of government that undermine us. Determine what’s worhwhile and what isn’t by simply asking– what’s the by- product of this investment– will this produce: Clean Water, Living Soils and Jobs?

    To decrease government and get economic reinvention– we need Campaign Finance reform.

    –Glad your voice will be at the table.

    Marian Gillis
    Olympia, WA..

  5. Aaron Crew says:

    Please tell the White House, “Laissez-nous faire”.

  6. Allison says:

    Please stress the importance of restricting the planting of GMO crops. Secretary Vilsack has been key in the deregulation of GMO alfalfa & other crops recently, despite overwhelming public support of banning, or at least restricting them.

  7. Shari Sirkin says:

    Ditto what Allison said. GMO crops are a disaster for those of us who choose not to grow them. Our growing organic or conventional crops will not affect GMO crops, but GMO crops can completely contaminate our crops. Most of Europe, Asia and S. America has banned it – what are we waiting for? The technology has simply not been tested long enough to be able to say conclusively that it will do no harm. This is an area in which we really ought to be using the Precautionary Principle. And who is really benefiting from this technology? Certainly not the small farmers. It’s sadly obvious that Vilsak still has close ties to Monsanto.