Ranking Member Stabenow Secures Investments for Farmers, Rural Communities in Appropriations Bill
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry, issued the following statement regarding passage of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funding bill, which largely rejects the Trump Administration’s cuts to the Farm Bill and the USDA.
“The funding bill we passed today makes critical investments for our farmers and strengthens our rural communities. I worked across the aisle to secure this funding and reverse the devastating cuts the Trump Administration proposed to agriculture. While this bill invests in a number of important areas, I am disappointed that it does not address the destructive relocation of USDA research agencies.”
Senator Stabenow secured the following provisions:
- $1.5 billion in disaster assistance to help farmers who faced losses due to weather, including many in the Midwest, where freezing temperatures and record rainfall prevented them from planting.
- $5 million for the USDA Office of Urban Agriculture to serve as an advocate for urban farmers at the Department. This was an amendment Senator Stabenow passed last October.
- Specialty Crop Research Initiative improvements to allow universities to better conduct research.
- $550 million for high-speed internet deployment in small towns and rural communities.
- $20 million for local food to improve access to healthy, locally grown food.
- $5 million for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers training and outreach to help them have successful careers in agriculture.
- $11 million for farmer veterans discounts and training to help them start and sustain their farms.
- $50 million for telemedicine tools to help rural patients receive treatment.
- $10 million for rural mental health resources modeled after Michigan State University’s innovative initiative.