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Will a New Farm Bill Fail to Support Rural Communities?

PHOTO: A new poll finds rural Americans feel the federal government could be targeting much more effective help for small-town economies. Photo credit: Carl Wycoff
PHOTO: A new poll finds rural Americans feel the federal government could be targeting much more effective help for small-town economies. Photo credit: Carl Wycoff
July 10, 2013

AUSTIN, Texas - As the U.S. House prepares for another try at passing a Farm Bill, a new survey has found that a majority of those in rural America want to see a greater focus on small business development and economic initiatives. The poll of rural Americans taken in almost 20 states was conducted on behalf of the Center for Rural Affairs (CFRA).

CFRA Executive Director Chuck Hassebrook said the results should inform the current debate.

"By wide margins, rural voters across the nation say that it's time for government to invest more in revitalizing rural communities and creating decent jobs and genuine opportunity in rural America," Hassebrook said."

The poll also found that a majority of people believe the small-town way of life is fading, but that the trend can be reversed. Hassebrook said one way to do that would be to cap subsidies to the largest farms and put that funding toward programs that have been shown to have positive economic impacts.

"Rural people believe their communities are worth fighting for," he said. "They strongly support government investing in small business development, in renewable energy, community development and other initiatives, to create good jobs and a better future for rural communities."

The U.S. Senate passed a Farm Bill last month, but the version in the House was voted down. Farm programs will expire Sept. 30, if Congress is unable to approve a new Farm Bill by then.

More information is available at www.cfra.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - TX