House Subcommittee Approves Rural Development Title of the Farm Bill
CSAC’s federal advocacy firm, Waterman and Associates, has reported that the House Subcommittee on Specialty Crops, Rural Development and Foreign Agriculture approved the rural development title of the Farm Bill by voice vote.
Highlights of the title include:
· An amendment offered by Subcommittee Chairman Mike McIntyre (D-NC) that would require the Secretary of Agriculture to favor applications for areas with the least median household income, the smallest population, and the least seasonal population increase when determining whether to approve an application for rural development funds.
· An amendment offered by Representative John Salazar (D-CO) that would require the Secretary of Agriculture to create a comprehensive rural broadband communications policy and report to Congress and the president on broadband activity.
· An amendment offered by Representative John Barrow (D-GA) that would expand technical assistance for farmers. The provision would provide $5 million for the creation and operation of the National Center for Appropriate Technology. The center would provide information, educational resources and technical assistance to farmers, ranchers and agriculture information providers.
The bill would also reauthorize several programs, including:
· $30 million for each fiscal year 2008-2012, for grants that would support development, storage, treatment, purification, or distribution of water of the collection, treatment, or disposal of waste in rural areas.
· $15 million for each fiscal year 2008-2012, for business development or labor training in rural areas.
· $25 million for each fiscal year 2008-2012, for the secretary of agriculture to establish a national rural water and wastewater rider program to provide technical assistance to help bring small public water systems into compliance with state and national environmental regulations.
· $35 million for each fiscal year 2008-2012, to assist residents in rural areas and small communities to comply with the Water Pollution Control Act or the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Finally, click here for a section-by-section analysis of the rural development title.
Counties interested in this title should contact the California members of the full House Agriculture Committee. They are: Representatives Joe Baca (D-43rd), Dennis Cardoza (D-18th), Jim Costa (D-20th), and Kevin McCarthy (R-22nd). Letters with suggested changes, comments, etc. should be sent to these particular members in advance of full committee consideration of the Farm Bill, which is expected to be considered as one package by the full House Agriculture Committee in the coming weeks.