USDA Office of Rural Development assists Calhoun County - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

USDA Office of Rural Development assists Calhoun County

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By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Before she was forced out of her job Shirley Sherrod was the Director of the USDA's Rural Development office for Georgia.

It's an office that does much more than just helps farmers. It tries to spur economic growth in underserved parts of the state.

The office hosted a meeting in Calhoun County Thursday night to come up with ways to improve that area.

"They don't come back because there's really no income here," said Brittany Whitaker, Calhoun County Resident.

Brittany Whitaker says the county needs more and better jobs.

"You have people with backgrounds, and some jobs don't pay enough to support the whole family," said Whitaker.

The USDA Office of Rural Development held this forum to find out the needs of people here and help prioritize them.

"They've talked about the hospitals they have, concerns with the educational system and I know they've talked about small business development," said Donnie D. Thomas, Acting USDA State Director.

Susanna Cowart is the Marketing Director for the Hospital Authority of Calhoun County. She's concerned about providing quality health care, she also wants to improve the economy.

"Investing in the businesses we do have and growing those already here was a main theme," said Susannah Cowart, Hospital Authority of Calhoun Co. Marketing Dir.

As with most rural South Georgia communities, Agriculture is the main economic engine here. That could be their saving grace as the need for more energy producing crops grows.

USDA workers will take some of the ideas they heard Thursday and come up with an action plan for Calhoun County.

They'll hold another meeting in Calhoun County to show off that plan and explain how it could help the community move forward.

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