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Concurrent Breakouts

Full Agenda   Plenary Sessions   Site Visits

January 7, 2017

We all know that good, reasonable priced broadband is a requirement for a viable community, how do we get that?  This session will focus on the technology, the financing and the methods to bring broadband to your district.


Rural communities are in the driver’s seat for all energy, regardless of source.  How do we maximize the return to the community and what issues are we facing?

9:45 am - 11:15 am

Capital Room

The quality of our transportation infrastructure is paramount to getting products into and out of rural communities. Are there answers to funding of infrastructure projects?   How will the growing number of electric and hybrid vehicles impact our infrastructure funding?

It has been a stressful year for many rural communities, the flood in Baton Rouge and fire in Alberta are just two of the extreme events that tremendously impacted rural communities. Rural communities face special challenges related to emergency preparedness and response, including resource limitations, remoteness, separation, low population density and communication issues. This session will focus on successful rural responses to floods, fires, droughts and other natural disasters. 

The mini-meetings are legislator led (no speakers) open discussions on a topic of interest. North Carolina Senator Brent Jackson will lead a discussion on whether tractor owners should have the right to access all diagnostic equipment and repair information.

2:30 pm - 3:45 pm

The bioeconomy comprises the use renewable biological resources from land and sea – such as crops, forests, fish, animals and micro-organisms – to produce food, materials and energy. A new report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that in 2014, the biobased products industry contributed $393 billion and 4.2 million jobs to America's recovering economy. The report also indicates that the sector grew from 2013 to 2014, creating or supporting an additional 220,000 jobs and $24 billion over that period. This session will focus on developing markets and competitiveness in bioeconomy... more

Now that the Food Safety Modernization Act is law and the FDA has released the regulations for it, states have to make the decision, to harmonize all, some or none of the FSMA  rules into state regulations for food and feed.  The answer will determine the funds the state receives from the FDA and how their companies work in the marketplace.  On top of all of this is the implementation of the Veterinary Feed Directive Act. 

Rural economies have often depended on natural resource industries, from agriculture to forestry. But today, we need to find ways to overcome challenges and expand the players, do new opportunities in forestry, increased young farmers and activities like agritourism offer ways to grow these industries?  How can states be involved?  

Aquaculture is different in different parts of the country, but in Louisiana it is an economic driver, with fish and shellfish consumption increasing, how can we help it grow economies in other parts of the country?

4:00 pm - 5:15 pm

To sustain rural communities, their schools, hospitals and public services, it will require job re-qrowth, thinking outside the box, fiscal capital and strong leadership. This session will focus on how to get it done. Ms Hornbeack has some reference links you might want to review.
1) Delta Bioenergy

2) The Communities Unlimited Website

3) the Delta Bioenergy Website

Trade is a focus of this year’s presidential campaign, but in reality, what is the role of trade for agriculture and rural communities and how can we maximize any federal decisions for our industries?

While the feds may make the rules, the states have to deal with the impacts of endangered species regulations, and states are also facing growing invasive species challenges, what are our options?

Strong animal agriculture is important for meeting growing food demands and serve as a great value added market for grain and forage producers and byproduct utilization.  But ballot initiatives and hesitation by some communities are challenging growth. How can we be good neighbors and face the challenges?