WASHINGTON - Today, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Specialty Crops, Rural Development, and Foreign Agriculture held a hearing to review the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Development programs for the coming fiscal year and proposals for the 2007 Farm Bill. Congressman Mike McIntyre of North Carolina is Chairman of the subcommittee.
"Eighty-five percent of the counties in my home state of North Carolina are classified as rural, and USDA Rural Development funds provide the core services for many of my constituents," Chairman McIntyre said. "These programs make a huge difference in their lives and it is critically important to ensure these citizens are well-served. As this subcommittee moves forward in writing a rural development title in the 2007 Farm Bill, it is essential that rural citizens and communities have access and opportunity to flexible development programs that strengthen the fabric of rural America."
"By extending broadband to rural areas and upgrading infrastructure, we can create a better life for rural America," said Ranking Member Marilyn Musgrave of Colorado. "With innovative policies, and a rapidly growing renewable energy industry, there is great hope for more jobs and economic expansion for rural areas. I look forward to working with Chairman McIntyre to make necessary policy updates in the upcoming farm bill."
The subcommittee heard testimony from five witnesses, including USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Thomas C. Dorr, who spoke about the AdministrationÆs Fiscal Year 2008 budget request for Rural Development programs as well as the 2007 Farm Bill. The committee also heard from a panel representing commissioners, researchers and administrators involved with rural development policies at both the public and private level.
The opening statements of all five witnesses are available on the House Agriculture Committee website, and a full transcript of the hearing will be posted on the Committee website in four to six weeks.