Putting Americans back to work and strengthening the economy remains at the forefront of my legislative agenda. As we look toward the future, we must continue to provide tax relief for American families, support small business and rural communities, and focus on job growth.
Those of us who have chosen to make our homes in the rural communities of Southeast North Carolina understand well the distinct needs in rural America. Farm families and agriculture production are woven into the very fabric of our society, and the revenue generated from agriculture is invested in a myriad of ways into the small businesses that support these communities. Agriculture and farming still serve as economic engines that help fuel our local and state economy. In fact, the Seventh Congressional District is the most productive agriculture district in the state with over $2.5 billion worth of agriculture products sold annually. Maintaining a robust agriculture industry is vital, and that is why it is critical that we support rural communities in North Carolina and across the nation.
As a senior member of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, I have been working hard to help ensure that we remain a leader in production and have an infrastructure in place to strengthen rural America. The current farm bill will expire this fall, but our committee just approved a new five-year farm bill, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2012, which will have a significant impact on our region. It marks an important step as we move forward in providing some certainty for our farm families and rural communities.
Rural development is a critical component of any farm bill, and it is imperative that we continue to make needed investments in North Carolina through the Rural Business Service, the Rural Utilities Service and the Rural Housing Service. Our modern day economy requires that businesses have access to broadband services to connect to the global marketplace, electric power to run equipment, and clean water to support the communities which provide the labor force. As this new farm bill moves forward in the legislative process, I will continue to work to ensure that we invest responsibly in the needed infrastructure to put rural communities on par with more urban communities.
Our economy is also fueled by small businesses which are vital to every community across Southeastern North Carolina. The country’s 28 million small businesses employ 60 million Americans, half of the private sector workforce. We are fortunate to have many hard-working North Carolinians who contribute to that statistic, and I am committed to working with those small businesses and entrepreneurs to ensure that we help, not hinder, their ability to grow and thrive. Improving access to capital, reducing regulation when needed, investing in infrastructure, and reducing taxes are essential for economic recovery and growth.
For the 16th consecutive year, I am hosting the “North Carolina Business & Economic Development Summit” to provide an opportunity for North Carolina’s local business leaders to meet with federal policy makers and have an informative discussion of the important policy issues affecting the local economy and their own businesses. This year’s summit is a free two-day conference which will take place in Washington, D.C., on September 10th and 11th. I will be joined by other North Carolina Members of Congress in this endeavor, including Representatives G.K. Butterfield, Renee Ellmers, Walter Jones, Larry Kissell, Patrick McHenry, and Mel Watt, as we have an informative discussion on various business, political and economic topics.
This event draws hundreds of North Carolina business leaders, Chamber of Commerce members, and small business owners, and it puts participants face-to-face with top-level officials from the Administration and Capitol Hill. We plan to feature a popular part of the program that includes a “North Carolina Executive Leadership Panel,” to promote dialogue between participants and the CEOs of some of North Carolina’s most distinguished companies on best practices for economic recovery.
Our nation still faces challenging times, and we must work together in partnership with government, private enterprise, educational institutions, and other community leaders and organizations committed to moving the economy forward. For more information on these important issues or for details on registering for the North Carolina Business & Economic Development Summit, please visit our website at www.mcintyre.house.gov or call our Washington Office at 202-225-2731.