A comprehensive Farm Bill with funding for water and wastewater investments would help tackle the $2.1 billion backlog of shovel-ready water/wastewater infrastructure projects in small towns across the country
- Since 2009, Farm Bill rural development programs have financed 3,898 rural water and wastewater projects, putting people to work and providing clean water for nearly 14 million rural Americans.
- During the same period of time, investments that farm bill programs authorize have supported improvements to 276 hospital and medical clinics, 166 schools and 401 libraries in rural America; the agency has awarded 15,727 grants and loans to aid 65,636 businesses expand opportunity and create jobs.
- The Farm Bill also will help keep rural communities safe and connected, through the expansion of 911 access and by supporting access to broadband telecommunications services in rural areas through project loan guarantees.
- Between 2009 and 2012, Farm Bill authorized programs helped create new market opportunities for rural producers and businesses by supporting over 800 local and regional food projects, including new product development and critical infrastructure like food hubs.
A comprehensive farm bill will allow USDA-Rural Development to work in partnership with local governments and organizations to align public investments, leverage private dollars, and respond to local priorities.
A Comprehensive Farm Bill Will Invest In The Bioeconomy And Clean Energy
The Farm Bill also is a key opportunity to advance the bioeconomy through continued investment in the next generation of advanced biofuels, construction of advanced biorefineries, top-notch research, support for farmers establishing new biofuel crops, and the manufacture of biobased industrial products.
A strong bioeconomy means producing manufactured goods, fuels, and power using plant materials, rather than petroleum, chemicals, or other extracted materials as the fundamental building block. More than 3,000 companies produce bio-based industrial products – everything from chemicals, to auto parts and beverage bottles – from homegrown, plant-based materials.
The Farm Bill includes several energy programs that correspond with the various components of the energy chain—from the field and the research lab to the factory and the generator. A comprehensive Farm Bill would:
- Reauthorize and fund the Renewable Energy for America program, which provides grants and guaranteed loans to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for the purchase of renewable energy systems and the implementation of energy efficiency projects. Since 2009, 9,166 awards have been made through this program, saving or generating a total of over 9.8 million megawatt hours of energy
- Jumpstart the production of the next generation of advanced biofuels by helping communities and companies invest in building advanced biorefineries, funding regional research, and continuing to help farmers to establish those biofuel crops.
- Continue USDA's BioPreferred program, which has helped to create thousands of new jobs in rural communities and added jobs across the value chain even in larger manufacturing cities by using agricultural and forestry commodities as the base feed stock for everyday products.
- Support domestic investment, development, and production in the emerging bio-based industrial products industry through expanded eligibility for loan programs and directed research.