Press Releases

House Agriculture Committee Rallies Behind Updates to Rural Infrastructure

“America’s heartland deserves to be front-and-center as we look to upgrade our aging infrastructure.”

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Washington, July 19, 2017 | comments

Washington, D.C.— Today, the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing examining the state of infrastructure in rural America. Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11), Ranking Member Collin Peterson (MN-7) and members of the committee heard from witnesses on opportunities to renew infrastructure in America’s heartland. Following the hearing, Chairman Conaway and Ranking Member Peterson made the below remarks:  

“America’s heartland deserves to be front-and-center as we look to upgrade our aging infrastructure,” said Chairman Conaway. “From rural broadband, to ag research, to transportation – rural America faces its own set of challenges and considerations and today’s hearing highlighted some of those. Take for instance producers in farm country, if they can’t get their commodities to market, it’s not just rural America that suffers, but also urban America. Our manufacturing sector depends on products produced in the heartland to create the ‘made in America’ products that create jobs and grow our economy. I applaud the president for drawing attention to this important matter and appreciate the efforts of the Rebuild Rural coalition to share rural America's story with the rest of our nation."

“A strong rural infrastructure is necessary for our rural areas to remain vital but our rural economy faces unique infrastructure challenges. It’s surprising to a lot of folks but broadband access is lacking in many of these areas. I appreciated today’s discussion on ways to expand service to rural residents,” said Ranking Member Peterson. “There are a lot of pieces to the infrastructure puzzle which is why it’s so important they work together. Access to clean water, reliable electricity, state of the art health care services and affordable housing are all necessary for farmers and ranchers to do their jobs and to maintain a certain quality of life in our rural areas. Adequate flood control is another essential infrastructure tool, especially in my area.”

Written testimony provided by the witnesses from today’s hearing is linked below. Click here for more information, including Chairman Conaway's opening statement and the archived webcast.


Panel I
Mr. Tom Halverson, President and CEO, CoBank, Washington, DC, on behalf of the Farm Credit System

Dr. Thomas G. Coon, Vice President, Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, on behalf of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU)

Mr. Rick Calhoun, Former President, Cargo Carriers, Cargill, Inc., Silver Spring, MD, on behalf of the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA)

Mr. Curtis Wynn, President and CEO, Roanoke Electric Cooperative, Ahoskie, NC, on behalf of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA)

Ms. Jennifer L. Otwell, Vice President and General Manager, Totelcom Communications, LLC, De Leon, TX, on behalf of the Rural Broadband Association (NTCA)

Mr. Brian E. MacManus, General Manager, East Rio Hondo Water Supply Corporation, Rio Hondo, TX, on behalf of the Texas Rural Water Association and the National Rural Water Association (NRWA)
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