DRA: Rural Manufacturing and Increased Exports Key to Regional Investment and Job Growth

July 17, 2014


CHAIRMAN MASINGILL: “The Delta region and its people are primed to reap the jobs and economic benefits of a national focus on rural America.”

MEMPHIS– Rural manufacturing and increased exports are the key to drive investment and job creation in the Delta region, Federal and local leaders pressed today at the White House Rural Council’s “Made in Rural America” forum in Memphis.

The forum, led by U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Federal Co-Chairman of the Delta Regional Authority Chris Masingill, convened national and regional leaders on the critical role exports play in strengthening the rural economy and increasing access to information and federal support for small businesses in the Delta.

The “Made in Rural America” regional forums are part of a targeted export and investment initiative commissioned by the Obama Administration and lead by the White House Rural Council.  Secretary Pritzker delivered the keynote speech, highlighting the tremendous impact global sales have on U.S. businesses including job creation, higher pay, and increased productivity.

“Making sure our rural businesses – from light manufacturers to service providers – benefit from the higher growth, employment, and wages of exporting companies is key to integrating trade into the DNA of our economy and creating opportunity for all Americans,” said Secretary Penny Pritzker. “The ‘Made in Rural America’ initiative advances the National Export Initiative and is in clear alignment with the Commerce Department’s “Open for Business Agenda” by helping more companies export to more markets. We look forward to continuing our work with the Delta Regional Authority and other regions around the country to advance “Made in Rural America” and help more rural businesses gain the know-how and access to federal resources they need to thrive in the global marketplace.”

“The Delta region, with its entrepreneurial history, affordable energy, available land, and accessible waterways and transportation network, is primed to reap the benefits of a national focus on rural America,” said Chairman Chris Masingill. “While the region and its people are excited about hosting this forum, we’re more excited about reaping the job and investment benefits that will come from today’s conversation on rural exporting.”

More than ever, exports are fueling economic growth in rural communities, supporting middle class jobs, and unlocking critical opportunities for American companies, farmers, ranchers, and workers. In fact, recent analysis of Federal economic data has shown that:

In 2013, the eight states in the Delta Region exported a total of $238.9 billion in manufactured goods with a total of 53,026 businesses exporting from these states.

The vast majority of exporting companies were small to medium sized companies.

Top export markets for the Delta Region include Canada, China, Mexico, Brazil, and Japan.  

Attendees also included Doug McKalip, Senior Policy Advisor for Rural Affairs at the White House Domestic Policy Council, and David Spann, Director of the Memphis U.S. Export Assistance Center.

Over the course of the next four months, three additional forums will take place headlined by Small Business Administration Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg, and United States Trade Representative Michael Froman.


About the Delta Regional Authority

The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership that is congressionally mandated to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives in the 252 counties and parishes of the Delta. Through twelve cycles of federal investment, the Authority is helping to create and retain more than 41,000 jobs and has leveraged $2.7 billion in other public and private investment.

CONTACT: Spencer Lucker
(202) 434-4842 / slucker@dra.gov