NADO Joins Coalition Partners Urging Congress to Pass a Comprehensive Farm Bill

Posted on: September 4th, 2012 by NADO Admin

On August 30, as part of the Campaign for Renewed Rural Development (http://www NULL.ruralcampaign NULL.org/), NADO joined 44 other organizations to urge House and Senate Agriculture Committee leadership to push for a comprehensive, five-year farm bill (rather than a short-term extension) when they return to Washington, D.C. on September 10. Current farm bill law (P.L. 110-246), passed in 2008, will expire on September 30. Click here to view the coalition letter.

The letter urges House leadership to bring the farm bill to a floor vote in early September (the House Agriculture Committee approved its version of the farm bill, H.R. 6083, on July 12), or go directly to a conference with the Senate (the Senate passed its version of the farm bill, S. 3240, on June 21).

The letter also urges Agriculture Committee leaders to support mandatory funding levels for Rural Development in the new farm bill and outlines several rural development priorities that NADO and other coalition groups hope to see included in a final bill:

  • The Senate bill organizes the Rural Development title into a more simplified format that is easier for rural stakeholders to understand and will ensure better program delivery by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The coalition urges conferees to support this approach.
  • Sec. 3702 of the Senate bill makes rural development programs more focused on funding the strategic economic and community priorities of rural stakeholders. This is a critical policy change that will assist all rural communities.
  • The House bill requires USDA to improve program metrics that will lead to better program evaluations and increased effectiveness of funding decisions. The coalition supports this policy change.
  • Both the House and Senate bills require the application process to be streamlined for rural communities, people, and businesses, and this policy change should be maintained in a final bill.
  • The Senate bill’s authorization of Technical Assistance funding for the Community Facilities Program is critical to helping communities build capacity to apply for sophisticated facilities projects.
  • The coalition supports the set aside for local and regional food systems under the Business and Industry Loan Program that is found in both versions of the bill, but opposes the seven percent cap found in the House bill.
  • The Rural Business Opportunity Grant Program and Rural Business Enterprise Grant Program are effective at leveraging local resources to create rural jobs. At a minimum, the functions of each program should be maintained in a final bill and the coalition supports the Senate authorization level of $65 million annually.
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