13 Rural Development

13.1 Introduction

(Revised September 2015)

NASDA recognizes the vital link between agriculture and rural communities. Agriculture and rural policy must be designed to reflect and reinforce the dynamic interface occurring among farming, agriculture and rural America. To support this dynamic, NASDA recognizes the need for flexible policy that helps support and cultivate rural economies.

NASDA support)s substantially increasing investments in rural communities to drive economic growth, entrepreneurship and innovation, and improve rural life. Retaining agricultural and rural youth in next generation businesses, attracting new capital and new business, and maintaining profitable agriculture must be a priority of rural development and agricultural policy.

13.2 Rural Development

NASDA supports rural development programs and acknowledges their role in providing funding and assistance for rural businesses and communities. Rural development programs should encourage growth within these communities and help stem the loss of business within rural America.

  1. NASDA believes federal policy should support rural communities; not adversely impact their economic viability.
  2. Programs should focus on supporting agriculture-related development while meeting educational, economic and technological needs and objectives.
  3. Programs should offer grants to collaborating rural communities for initiatives to spur entrepreneurial development, including small business education, technical assistance, leadership programs, youth retention, and intergenerational business transfers.
  4. NASDA supports inexpensive and easily accessible Internet access; particularly initiatives to expand the availability of broadband and wireless to increase access to technology and information in rural areas, as well as help modernize rural businesses.
  5. NASDA recommends that Congress extend eligibility of federal economic development programs to agricultural and rural community projects in metropolitan and micropolitan counties across the U.S.

13.3 Value-Added Processing and Cooperative Enterprises

NASDA recognizes the powerful economic contributions of agricultural and other cooperatives in the United States. Producers traditionally look to expand their market share through exports, but they also realize there is an opportunity to increase their market access through value-added processing. Strategies to increase market share through value-added processing include cooperative and other business ventures focused on agricultural processing, farmer-owned cooperatives, and marketing the value of “high-end” crops and livestock.

  1. NASDA supports opportunities to grow value-added processing, including cooperatives and other business ventures. These enterprises increase product values and help expand marketing opportunities for farmers and ranchers.
  2. NASDA supports the preservation of the Capper Volstead Act to ensure the continued ability of farmers and ranchers to form cooperatives and create cooperative development centers and technical assistance for new cooperative enterprises.

13.4 Agriculture Data and Information Collection

Effective agricultural policy must be based on accurate and objective data that describe the structure and operation of agricultural enterprises and measure their economic health. Proper data is needed both to administer programs and measure their performance. Data requirements need to be developed in parallel with policy.

  1. NASDA strongly supports agriculture data collection and information gathering by the National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS).
  2. NASDA strongly supports providing adequate resources for conducting censuses of agriculture and for additional research to improve response, ease data reporting, and enhance data quality. Furthermore, NASDA supports resources for continuing current surveys and/or adding additional surveys as industry, consumer and regulator needs arise.
  3. NASDA supports strong federal-state partnerships between individual state departments of agriculture and NASS. NASDA strongly endorses NASS efforts to support a highly trained, competitively paid corps of part-time enumerators who collect the data that form the foundation of the NASS census and survey programs.
  4. NASDA supports National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) initiatives to develop electronic data reporting systems.

NASDA recommends that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection provide individual states with data on plant, animal and food entries into states to enhance states’ ability to prevent introduction of harmful plant and animal pests and diseases.

13.5 Rural Education

NASDA strongly supports K-12 agricultural education programs. State departments of agriculture should support various efforts to develop and implement agricultural education programs which are focused on public awareness and leadership.

13.6 Bioeconomy and Energy

Historically, agriculture has provided food and fiber to America. Now, with the development of new biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, and greater commercial interest in wind and solar energy; America’s farms and ranches are increasingly seen as a promising source of clean, renewable, home-grown energy. Producers are also downstream energy users and rely on stable energy prices for stable profit margins. These linkages show the ever growing relationship between agriculture and energy.

  1. NASDA supports energy strategies that focus on enhancing renewable fuel use, development and research. Domestic energy production methods, including traditional fuels, are needed to ensure an accessible, affordable energy supply.
  2. NASDA supports the establishment of on-farm incentives to produce and utilize solar energy, wind energy, biodiesel fuel, methane, and any other biopowers, biofuels and bioproducts. Further, NASDA supports bio-based product development as a means to create opportunities for farmers and ranchers while creating sustainable, environmentally friendly products.
  3. NASDA supports continued focus on energy in the Farm Bill. NASDA supports programs to further renewable energy opportunities such as: the Rural Energy for America Program, the use of CRP acres for energy and biobased crops and the Biomass Research and Development Program.
  4. NASDA supports the Renewable Fuel Standard.
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