2008 Farm Bill Leaving Rural Development Behind

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Jon Bailey, jonb@cfra.org, (402) 687-2103 ext. 1013 or Kim Preston, kimp@cfra.org, (402) 687-2103 ext. 1022
LYONS, NE - The Center for Rural Affairs' most recent Rural Brief offers an analysis of rural development spending and programs in the 2008 Farm Bill.
The Farm Bill continues considerable funding for commodity subsidy programs, $35 billion over the 5 year life of the Farm Bill to be exact. An additional $10.4 billion was authorized for nutrition programs and $25 billion for conservation programs.

In comparison, the Farm Bill only requires $150 million in spending for three rural development programs over the life of the Farm Bill. That is a 233:1 ratio of commodity subsidy spending to rural development spending.

The gap between commodity subsidy spending and rural development spending is even greater when one considers only two business and entrepreneurial development programs received a Congressional guarantee of funding (mandatory spending) in the bill – a ratio of $1,167 commodity subsidy spending for every $1 of rural development spending that promotes entrepreneurship.
“The decisions made about rural development funding in the final version of the Farm Bill continue to demonstrate the neglect Congress has toward our rural communities and small towns. The policy and funding decisions made in Washington continue to hollow out initiatives that build wealth and assets for rural people and in our communities,” said Jon Bailey, Director of the Rural Research and Analysis Program at the Center for Rural Affairs and author of the Rural Brief.
“The future of our communities depends on strong rural development initiatives. These initiatives and investment in them build businesses, create jobs and enhance the quality of life in our communities. If we want our communities to be attractive, economically viable places to live, we need a stronger investment in rural development,” said Bailey.

The 2008 Farm Bill also represents an 85% reduction in rural development spending that is mandatory and therefore does not require further funding approval by congressional appropriators.  In comparison, the 2002 Farm bill allocated $1.03 billion in mandatory spending for rural development programs.

To view the entire Rural Brief: http://www.cfra.org/node/1419

The Rural Brief is a publication of the Center for Rural Affairs and analyzes federal Executive, Legislative and Administrative action concerning rural development and asset-building programs and initiatives. The Rural Brief is available both electronically and in print. Call the Center at 402-687-2100 or email at info@cfra.org.

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