U.S. Senate Ag Committee to Hold Hearing on Rural America

The United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry will be hosting a full committee hearing titled “Examining the Farm Economy: Perspectives on Rural America” on Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. EST.
 
The hearing comes hot on the heels of USDA Secretary Perdue’s announcement of the proposed reorganization of the USDA Rural Development agencies by eliminating rural development as a core mission area. USDA’s Rural Development agencies include business cooperative services; utilities services such as water, waste, electric, and telecommunications; housing services; and an extensive investment portfolio that includes many loan and grant programs.
 
The Senate Committee on Agriculture began work on the 2018 Farm Bill earlier this year with two listening sessions. The first session, held in Kansas, included many witnesses who spoke on the importance of rural development, a major topic within the Farm Bill. 
USDA has framed the elimination of rural development core mission area as a restructuring and “elevating rural development.” USDA’s plan includes removing the Under Secretary for Rural Development to add an Under Secretary for Trade, however USDA has the authority to have both.
 
The White House is accepting comments on the reorganization until June 12, 2017.  
 
USDA’s move stems from a recommendation from the 2014 Farm Bill to create the Under Secretary of Trade. However, with work currently being done on the framework of the next farm bill, the Senate’s “Examining the Farm Economy: Perspectives on Rural America” hearing should lead to interesting discussions on where rural development will stand in President Donald Trump’s administration.
 
The hearing will be broadcast online and a recording will be available online after the hearing has ended.
 

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