Dec 12 2018
WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers applauds the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate for approving the bipartisan Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018,H.R. 2, also known as the Farm Bill. The legislation was approved by both chambers on Wednesday to improve rural water systems, provide stability for Kentucky farmers, protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and invest in rural broadband development through 2023.
"The Farm Bill provides important investments for infrastructure projects, like access to broadband and clean water in rural America. It also strengthens the nation's flagship nutrition program, while boosting workforce development and addiction treatment resources," said Congressman Rogers. "This legislation modernizes the SNAP program in a way that helps participants get back on their feet, while preserving resources for the most vulnerable among us who can't afford basic necessities. It also strengthens the farm safety net, cuts burdensome red tape and supports future farmers."
"I'm pleased that this bill invests in broadband development, working in concert with our vision for Kentucky Wired, which will provide connectivity to every county in the state, starting with Eastern Kentucky," said Rogers.
The Farm Bill also directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture to prioritize Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) assistance for producers striving to stabilize water resources and cost-share practices, which improve drought resiliency and agricultural productivity.
FARM BILL HIGHLIGHTS
Rural Water Systems:
Prioritizes help for rural water systems by increasing water and wastewater program funding by $5 million annually for the next five years.
Sets aside funding within the Community Facilities program for communities with 20,000 people or less.
Reserves $4 billion in conservation funding over 10 years for source water protection.
Increases broadband loan, loan guarantee, and grant funding to $350M and raises the minimum acceptable level of broadband service in rural areas from 4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream to 25/3 Mbps.
Authorizes $50 million annually for Community Connect grants and $10 million annually for grants, loans and loan guarantees for middle mile infrastructure for rural areas.
Reserves $10 million annually for the “Innovative Broadband Advancement Program”, which provides grants, loans and loan guarantees to demonstrate innovative broadband technologies or methods of broadband deployment that significantly decrease cost and provide faster broadband speeds.
The legislation now moves to the President's desk for his signature.