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Staff Spotlight: Meet Cody Smith, our newest rural advocate

“Rural advocate.” This term took much too long for me to discover. I joined the Center for Rural Affairs team last month, and since then, the phrase has really caught my eye – I’ve seen it around the office, on the Center’s website, and all over Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. It took a while to figure out why I found the slogan so intriguing, but I think I’ve finally found the answer.

Senate farm bill is promising, but has concerns

The Senate Agriculture Committee has released a bipartisan bill that provides important support for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities. However, there is room for improvement.

While it would strengthen the underlying policy for conservation programs, it proposes to cut funding for working lands conservation. The bill would also offer greater permanency for many programs for beginning farmers and rural development by combining certain programs.

Government examines farm program payment abuse in recently released report

Each year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) makes billions of dollars in total payments to farmers across the country. They rely on these payments as part of a strong safety net, which helps them mitigate the steep risk that comes with working in the agricultural sector. Congress historically put in place some common sense limits on farm program payments, but left open notable loopholes that damage their integrity and effectiveness.

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