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Latest Farm Bill Shortchanges Rural Development in North Dakota

October 17, 2008

Lyons, ND - Funds for rural development in North Dakota were nearly eliminated in the 2008 Farm Bill. Jon Bailey with the Center for Rural Affairs did an analysis of rural development spending and programs in the 2008 Farm Bill and found a 233-to-one ratio between commodity subsidy spending and rural development spending.

"The type of initiatives that would help start businesses, create jobs and make communities attractive places for people to stay in, or relocate to, were left out of the farm bill."

Bailey says $35 billion was included in the Farm Bill for commodity subsidies with only a tiny amount to finance the revitalization of rural areas.

"Only three programs totaling $150 million for rural development survived in the final bill. Rural development got the very short end of the stick in the final farm bill funding."

Bailey says in comparison, the 2002 Farm Bill contained over a billion dollars in mandatory spending allocated for rural development programs. That amounts to an 85 percent reduction in this year's rural development programs. When Congress debated the Farm Bill, most of the money that had been allocated previously to rural development was channeled to other priorities.

A copy of the full report can be downloaded from www.cfra.org.

Dick Layman/Elizabeth Grattan, Public News Service - ND