Washington, DC (July 3, 2018) – As the United States Senate passed H.R. 2-115 in a vote of eighty-six to eleven last Thursday, the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP), Inc. applauds the bipartisan effort to advance this important legislation. The work on the Senate Farm Bill and Rural Development Title continues to have strong bipartisan cooperation and RCAP appreciates the strong commitment made in the bill to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Rural Development programs. These programs provide essential services to some of those most in need around the country and are vital to helping communities provide economic opportunity for their residents.
“The Farm Bill is critical to ensuring that the smallest communities across the country are not left behind. Rural residents are three times more likely than their urban counterparts to lack water and sanitation. They also typically pay nearly three times the amount for water and sewer services, and without the technical assistance and other programs authorized in the Farm Bill, many of these communities would not be able to provide these services,” says Nathan Ohle, Executive Director of RCAP.
Through RCAP’s work in rural communities in all fifty states, tribal lands, and U.S. territories, it is apparent that many Americans rely on many of the programs outlined in the Farm Bill. Particularly, funding for critical rural infrastructure, technical assistance, and training through the Rural Development Title. The Senate’s Rural Development Title builds on the continued success of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Water and Environmental Programs and broadens USDA’s Water Well System Grant Program to include much-needed upgrades to rural homes on decentralized wastewater systems. These programs and the Rural Utilities Service Technical Assistance and Training Program not only support rural communities but play an essential role in protecting public health.
For more than forty-five years, the RCAP network has partnered with USDA to bridge the gap between USDA Rural Development and the communities they serve. Every year, the RCAP network assists more than 2,000 rural communities to address their water and wastewater needs. With the Senate passage of their Farm Bill, policymakers are showing a strong commitment to replicating the success of the water/wastewater technical assistance program while protecting taxpayer investment in the nation’s water and sewer infrastructure.
Additionally, the establishment of new programs like the Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) Grant Program at USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service and the further development of USDA’s Community Facilities Program demonstrates a desire to promote all aspects of life for rural Americans by delivering flexible federal funding and responsive investments to locally-driven efforts that will create jobs and lead to economic growth.
RCAP looks forward to supporting this bipartisan effort as this version of the Farm Bill continues through the legislative process.
RCAP is a non-profit organization working to ensure rural and small communities throughout the United States have access to safe drinking water, sanitary wastewater, solid waste disposal, and economic opportunity. To learn more about this work visit: rcap.org.
Media Contact: Spenser Wempe
Rural Community Assistance Partnership, Inc.