Poll finds Farm Bill should back rural development

By John Michaelson
Minnesota News Connection

As the U.S. House prepares for another try at passing a Farm Bill, a new survey has found that a majority of those in rural America want to see a greater focus on small business development and economic initiatives. The poll of rural Americans taken in almost 20 states was conducted on behalf of the Center for Rural Affairs (CFRA).

CFRA Executive Director Chuck Hassebrook said the results should inform the current debate.

“By wide margins, rural voters across the nation say that it’s time for government to invest more in revitalizing rural communities and creating decent jobs and genuine opportunity in rural America,” Hassebrook said.

The poll also found that a majority of people believe the small-town way of life is fading, but that the trend can be reversed. Hassebrook said one way to do that would be to cap subsidies to the largest farms and put that funding toward programs that have been shown to have positive economic impacts.

The U.S. Senate passed a Farm Bill last month, but the version in the House was voted down. Farm programs will expire Sept. 30, if Congress is unable to approve a new Farm Bill by then.

More information is available at www.cfra.org.