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Groups: Rural Development Lacking in Latest Farm Bill

October 17, 2008

Lyons, NE – Just when rural Iowans are in the greatest need of economic development, the 2008 Farm Bill nearly eliminated all designated funds to benefit rural expansion.

At the Center for Rural Affairs, Jon Bailey has done an analysis of the 2008 Farm Bill, and found 233 times more spending on commodity subsidies than on rural development.

"Initiatives that would help start businesses, create jobs, make communities attractive places for people to relocate to, were left out of the farm bill."

In contrast, Bailey notes, the Farm Bill allocates $35 billion for commodity subsidies, which makes the amount for revitalizing rural areas seem paltry.

"There are only three programs totaling $150 million for rural development in the final Farm Bill. Rural development got the very short end of the stick."

Another stark contrast: the 2002 Farm Bill allocated more than $1 billion in mandatory spending for rural development programs. In that light, the 2008 bill represents an 85 percent reduction in rural development programs. Bailey's analysis indicates most of the money that had previously been allocated to rural development was channeled to other priorities.

See details of the report online, at www.cfra.org.

Dick Layman/Elizabeth Grattan, Public News Service - IA