New Initiative Announced To Help Rural Manufacturers

By Sarah McCarthy, KCRG-TV9

MOUNT VERNON, Iowa — In February, President Barack Obama announced a new initiative aimed at rural manufacturers across the nation. He hoped to increase exports from small communities to foreign countries overseas.

Today, that initiative gained traction in Mount Vernon at a “Made in Rural America” regional forum.

Jerry Handsaker, president of Innovative Lighting in Rowland, Iowa, said he attended the event in the hopes of learning how to expand his customer base.

“Iowa’s not close to the coast,” Handsaker said. “We don’t typically have experts in exporting.”

But he said that lack of exporting knowledge makes it even harder to know how to start getting products across country lines.

“We need to be connected to people that are experienced in exporting to guide us,” he said.

This is the third of five forums across the country that are helping connect local manufactures to international buyers.

Producers that already export were on hand to answer questions and share advice.

Companies that specialize in helping companies export were also there.

Handsaker said being a part of the event was invaluable.

“I think this could double or triple our sales,” Handsaker said.

And he said that would mean more jobs here at home.

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