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Rep. Jimmy Panetta Testifies at House Rules Committee Hearing on Build Back Better Act in Support of Agricultural Provisions

WASHINGTON (October 28, 2021) – House Agriculture Committee Member Rep. Jimmy Panetta delivered the following statement at the House Rules Committee Hearing on H.R. 5376 "Build Back Better Act" in support of the agricultural provisions included by the Committee.

[As prepared for delivery]

I want to thank Chairman McGovern and Ranking Member Cole for the opportunity to come before you today to speak to the House Agriculture Committee’s provisions in the Build Back Better Act.

These provisions represent a historic opportunity to focus federal investments in climate change mitigation, rural communities, forest conservation and restoration, debt relief, and agricultural research and education.

This package makes tremendous investments in our conservation and forestry programs to help our farmers, ranchers and private forestland owners carry out climate smart conservation practices.

All of our farm bill conservation programs are oversubscribed and have backlogs. 

Producers who want to help sequester carbon or reduce greenhouse gas emissions will be able to carry out those practices with the funding provided in this bill.

The devastation that my colleagues and I from the West have witnessed in their districts over the last several wildfire years is heartbreaking as entire communities have burned to the ground.

The funding for forestry programs will work to reduce the hazardous fuel load on our National Forest System lands and provide funds for forest resilience. 

This investment in forestry programs also looks to ensure our private forestland owners are able to take steps to address climate change and bolster forest communities and even urban tree canopies.

We are putting money towards programs and funding lines that Republicans and Democrats have supported in farm bills and appropriations legislation.  

Additionally, the Committee has provided funding for core HBCU research and extension programs as well as provided investments to ensure that our HBCUs and other institutions can continue to train the next generation of leaders and scientists to help us address climate change and feed and clothe people around the world.

If we are to truly meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century, renovating and securing new facilities and equipment is crucial.

Our bill’s investments in rural development and energy programs to help rural communities increase their use of renewable energy and make energy efficiency improvements on their farms and our rural small businesses.  

We also have included funding for the Rural Partnership Program that my colleague Antonio Delgado has championed.

And built on the provisions of the American Rescue Plan by broadening access to debt relief for at risk USDA farm loan borrowers.  

This includes a renewed focus on providing technical and financial assistance to ensure that underserved producers have access to USDA programs and capital for their operations.

Thank you again, Mr. McGovern, for this opportunity to share some background on the good work of the House Agriculture Committee.  

We would have liked to have done more, but we believe this is an important investment in the programs under our jurisdiction.

I yield back.

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