Farm Bill Reauthorization

NARC supports increased and sustained funding in the reauthorization of the Farm Bill’s “Conservation” (Title II) and “Rural Development” (Title VI) programs and resources. This is important for assisting rural community improvements and offering increased economic opportunity. NARC also supports funding flexible rural development programs that allow localities to work regionally and locally to develop infrastructure improvements, community facilities, business development, broadband deployment, entrepreneurship, healthcare and many other essential programs. NARC is active on the Farm Bill reauthorization through the Campaign for Renewed Rural Development (CRRD).

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Current Legislative Status
NARC Resources
House Agriculture Committee Resources
Senate Agriculture Committee Resources
Farm Bill Background

Current Legislative Status
NARC Resources
House Agriculture Committee Resources

Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act, HR 1947

  1. McIntyre Amendment 41 (adopted en bloc) – Makes technical assistance an eligible expense under USDA’s communities facilities program and ensures local governments are eligible for this assistance.
  2. McIntyre Amendment 39 (failed (23-22) – Provides $50 million in mandatory funding to address water and wastewater backlog at USDA
  3. McIntyre Amendment 40 (failed 25-20) – Provides 15 million in mandatory funding for Rural Microenterprise Assistance Program and ensures local governments are eligible for assistance under Rural Microenterprise Assistance Program
Senate Agriculture Committee Resources

Agriculture Reform Food and Jobs Act of 2013, S 954

  1. Brown Amendment 1 (adopted by voice vote) – Provides USDA Rural Development flexibility to prioritize 20 percent of its funding for projects that are multijurisdictional economic development efforts. Will allow USDA to support collaborative, strategic projects.
  2. Cowan Amendment 4 (adopted by voice vote) – To authorize direct loans to support production for locally and regionally produced foods. Would support food producers who are engaged in local and regional production, distribution and marketing efforts.
Farm Bill Background

Rural development is a process focused on the economy, communities and people of areas where demographics show a widely dispersed population. Economic and sustainable development is important in non-urbanized areas that typically have a decentralized workforce and are characterized by out-migration. Rural America is largely agricultural, rich in natural resources and uniquely diverse. Regional councils are key players in advancing rural development through innovative and comprehensive strategic planning and alliances with private, public and nonprofit entities.

The Farm Bill (P.L. 110-246), which was last authorized in 2008, is an omnibus bill that combines a total of 15 titles into a single piece of legislation. The bill is subject to the budget restrictions, fiscal constraints and Pay-Go requirements. The farm bill undergoes review and reauthorization roughly every five years.

Title II, the Conservation title, contains 20 programs to protect and restore soils, waterways and wildlife habitats, including incentives to shift environmentally sensitive lands from agriculture to conservation, better manage land under production, and technical assistance to help produces implement measures and meet federal standards. These programs help reduce water and air pollution, soil erosion and loss of wildlife.

Title VI, the Rural Development title, includes nearly 90 programs across 16 federal agencies that provide loans, grants, technical assistance and research for activities that support rural community development, providing for housing, public works systems, business development, etc. According to USDA, in 2005, alone, the business programs under this title created over 73,000 jobs and helped fund new or improved water treatment systems serving over one million consumers.

NARC and its members are in a unique position to expand the regional role in Farm Bill programs and policies to ensure rural prosperity, connectivity and access.

Copyright © 2013 National Association of Regional Councils