WASHINGTON, July 10, 2012- A coalition of more than 70 organizations signed a letter in support of additional Rural Development funding in the House Agriculture Committee's draft farm bill. Among other requests, the letter supports provisions of Rep. Mike McIntyre’s (D-N.C.) amendment that directs $50 million in mandatory spending to address the water and wastewater backlog at USDA. The amendment mirrors language in the Senate passed bill.

Although the coalition commended House Agriculture Committee leadership for moving ahead with the farm bill process, it noted that “the chairman’s mark dramatically reduces critical investments in rural economic development and misses the opportunity to make important policy changes that will improve these programs for rural people, places and businesses.”
According to the letter, Congress has provided an average of $413 million per farm bill in mandatory funding for the Rural Development title since 1996. It explains that the current draft House bill represents a 66 percent cut in mandatory funding and a 50 percent cut in authorization levels.

“We urge you to correct this deficiency by supporting amendments during mark up that will reinstate mandatory funding for the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program and the Water/Wastewater Backlog,” stated the letter. “We also ask that you work to protect the $50 million in the mark for the Value Added Producer Grant program. The Senate passed bill maintains mandatory funding for all three of these successful Rural Development programs.”

To view the letter, click here


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