Rural Development Programs Take Center Stage at Farm Bill Hearing
Wednesday marked the first day of House Agriculture Subcommittee farm bill hearings in the nation's capital. In the first of eight hearings was held by the Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee - chaired by Representative Timothy Johnson - to review rural development programs. Two panels of witnesses provided feedback - including how to improve them to increase their effectiveness - on programs like the Rural Business and Cooperative Service, the Rural Housing Service and the Rural Utilities Service. Witnesses also expressed that continued investments in water, energy and broadband infrastructure are vital for enhancing the quality of life and economic opportunities for those living and working in rural communities.
Chairman Johnson said that getting the debt under control will take shared sacrifice. As the Committee considers reauthorizing farm bill programs - he said it's important to seek ways to weed out activities and authorities that are either redundant or ineffective. In doing so - Johnson says the programs would be made more accessible to applicants, reduce USDA's administrative burden and focus the program resources on core responsibilities.
Former Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Conner - now President and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives - was among those testifying.
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