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Agricultural News


Senate Ag Chair Roberts Hears Ideas for Improving Farm Bill Rural Development, Energy Programs

Thu, 28 Sep 2017 11:00:22 CDT

Senate Ag Chair Roberts Hears Ideas for Improving Farm Bill Rural Development, Energy Programs U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today held a hearing, titled, “Rural Development and Energy Programs: Perspectives for the 2018 Farm Bill.”


“Today’s hearing marks this committee’s ninth hearing this year dedicated to listening to our stakeholders from around the country on how our authorized programs are currently working, or need improvement, as we work towards Farm Bill reauthorization during this Congress,” said Chairman Roberts. “This includes taking a look at spending requests and proposals for the 39 programs in the Farm Bill that do not have budget baseline.”


“While it is a principal duty of this committee to ensure the next Farm Bill provides our nation’s agricultural producers with the necessary tools and resources to feed a growing and hungry world, our responsibilities, and the role of USDA, do not stop there.”


“It is also critical the next Farm Bill works to support rural businesses, cooperatives, health clinics, schools, renewable energy and bio-based product manufacturers, and other essential services providers that serve as the backbone of the communities our farmers and ranchers call home.”


To provide input for the Senate Agriculture Committee’s consideration for the upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization, click here. The link will be active for five business days after the hearing.


Click here to watch Chairman Roberts' opening statement. Below are Chairman Roberts’ remarks as prepared for delivery:


"Good morning members of the committee. I call this hearing of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry to order.


"Today’s hearing marks this committee’s ninth hearing this year dedicated to listening to our stakeholders from around the country on how our authorized programs are currently working, or need improvement, as we work towards Farm Bill reauthorization during this Congress.


"This includes taking a look at spending requests and proposals for the 39 programs in the Farm Bill that do not have budget baseline. As I’ve said at each of these hearings, our Committee must be mindful of the very tough budgetary environment.


"While it is a principal duty of this committee to ensure the next Farm Bill provides our nation’s agricultural producers with the necessary tools and resources to feed a growing and hungry world, our responsibilities, and the role of USDA, do not stop there.


"It is also critical the next Farm Bill works to support rural businesses, cooperatives, health clinics, schools, renewable energy and bio-based product manufacturers, and other essential services providers that serve as the backbone of the communities our farmers and ranchers call home.


"Earlier this year, at our committee’s first field hearing in Manhattan, Kansas, we had the opportunity to hear from a number of stakeholders that I believe share much of the same passion and commitment to rural America as our witnesses today.


"We listened to the manager at the Nemaha Marshall Electric Cooperative explain how low interest Rural Utility Service electric loans make it possible for small co-ops to provide rural Kansans with affordable, reliable energy.


"A Kansas biofuels producer spoke about the important role renewable energy plays in helping create rural jobs and new market demand for a number of commodities important to our members’ states.


"And, we heard a rural telecom provider discuss the daily challenges she faces in working to provide high speed broadband to an area in Western Kansas roughly the size of the state of Connecticut, but with 3 million fewer people.


"I hope today’s hearing will continue that conversation and provide our committee an opportunity to hear a broader perspective of the needs throughout farm country.


"On our first panel today, we are pleased to have the Assistant to the Secretary of Agriculture for Rural Development, and the three Acting Administrators for the Rural Utilities Service, Rural Housing Service, and Rural Business Cooperative Service.


"They will discuss Secretary Perdue’s vision for fostering growth and economic prosperity throughout rural America and provide an update on program functions within USDA Rural Development.


"For our second panel of witnesses, we will hear from a broad set of private sector stakeholders, including: representatives of rural cooperatives who work every day to provide essential utility services to farmers, ranchers and small towns across the country; a non-profit organization that provides training and other support for small business development; a university professor leading state of the art research in renewable chemicals product development; and finally, an entrepreneur whose business model is helping farmers and other small businesses save on energy costs through installation of renewable energy systems.


"Again, I look forward to our discussion today regarding the Rural Development and Energy titles of the Farm Bill, and to hearing from our witnesses about their recommendations to improve these programs and provide our rural communities with the necessary economic tools they need to grow and thrive.


"I recognize Senator Stabenow for any opening remarks she would like to make."




Source - Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry





   

 

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