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Elimination of USDA's Rural Development Mission Area heavily opposed

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) joined hundreds of local governments, businesses, and farm and rural development organizations in signing on to a letter asking the House and Senate to stop the Administration from eliminating the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development Mission Area and Under Secretary, a plan that USDA announced on May 11. The letter also opposes the Administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget request to eliminate funding for numerous USDA Rural Development programs, which serve millions of Americans across the country.

“There is no time to waste,” said Greg Fogel, NSAC Policy Director. “Appropriators can act now by withholding the funding that USDA would need to complete the elimination of the Rural Development Mission Area and Under Secretary, and by including robust funding for USDA’s rural development programs in FY 2018. The Administration’s attacks on Rural Development, both through the proposed reorganization and budget cuts, would eradicate USDA’s ability to foster growth in rural areas – including its ability to support and invest in farmer-led enterprise development. This is not just about any one particular program or policy loss, it’s about potentially removing USDA as a key player in the fostering of prosperity of rural communities. This is about rural infrastructure, rural housing, rural hospitals, and so many other critical USDA services upon which rural Americans depend.”

The proposed cuts for Rural Development in FY 2018 total over $1 billion (over $3 billion in program financing). If approved, rural development programs would be cut by $867 million (31 percent). Virtually every direct loan and grant program would be zeroed out.

“We all want families to have access to affordable housing options, we all want American small businesses to thrive, and we all want rural communities to have the same opportunities as those in urban areas,” said Fogel. “Rural Development does all this and more. These programs may have ‘rural’ in the name, but their positive impacts reach far beyond those communities. Every American will feel the impact if this Mission Area is eliminated and if the President’s proposed budget cuts become a reality.”

NSAC and the nearly 600 groups on this letter urge Congress, and particularly the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, to stop the elimination of the Rural Development Mission Area and Under Secretary, and to oppose the proposed cuts to rural development funding in FY 2018 appropriations legislation.

For more information:
sustainableagriculture.net

Publication date: 6/13/2017

 


 

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