The 2018 Farm Bill, which passed the Agriculture Committee on party lines, cuts nearly $800 million from conservation programs, $500 million from rural development programs over the next ten years, and includes no mandatory funding for infrastructure projects, such as broadband deployment and water and wastewater systems. Additionally, the bill changes the definition of “rural” and would force small rural communities to compete with small cities for infrastructure loans.
Cutting conservation programs over the next ten years is shortsighted, and it will limit the ability of Arizona farmers and ranchers to meet their needs and address resource concerns. Additionally, cuts to the forestry title will mark a major step backward in forest restoration and wildfire prevention.
This bill fails to do enough for rural communities to promote rural economic development. This Farm Bill should have served as a way to jumpstart rural economic development and create jobs, but instead, this bill cuts half a billion dollars from rural economic development programs.