AG Rural News

Two Midwestern Congresswomen have been named chairs of the New Democrat Coalition Rural Reinvestment Taskforce. Cindy Axne of Iowa and Cheri Bustos of Illinois will lead the group, which aims to develop and advance policy solutions that support Rural America. Axne says the task force will ensure rural communities have a seat at the table in Congress, focusing on a wide range of issues like broadband, healthcare, and the impacts of a changing climate. ...
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A provision in major rural broadband legislation in the U.S. House allows for local mapping authority. New York Congressman Antonio Delgado – who calls the lack of rural broadband unacceptable – says he’s pleased his bipartisan has been included in the larger bill. “The Community Broadband Mapping Act will give our small communities the ability to collect their own data so they can challenge inaccurate mapping by the FCC.” Delgado says accurate information is critical in addressing the rural broadband deficit, “We need to fix the flawed broadband maps that overstate internet access and speeds in rural communities.” Delgado says the bill will...
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The US Postal Service has proposed revisions to service standards including the extension of first-class mail deliveries from 1-3 days out to five days. National Farmers Union President Rob Larew submitted comments to USPS opposing the idea, saying it would be “catastrophic” for farmers, especially those who send live animals like chicks and bees via the postal system. Packages with ag products, like seeds and parts, delivered during planting and harvest are critical to operations that live hours from distributors. ...
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State and federal lawmakers continue to direct money toward the expansion of rural broadband. And University of Minnesota Duluth assistant professor of computer science Dr. Peter Peterson suggests the dollars better keep coming because burying cable gets really expensive. “DSL, cable internet, and fiber, those are all delivered via wires that someone has buried, usually along roadways. And it costs, the low end is $18,000 per-mile to bury fiber.” He tells Brownfield that is the fundamental issue holding back rural broadband expansion. ...
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Ag News

The USDA is addressing heirs land ownership and succession issues by offering $67 million in competitive loans for farmers. Ag Secretary Vilsack says the Heirs Property Relending Program is part of USDA’s commitment to ensuring equity for all farmers and protecting the legacy of family farms. “Title to property is not just proof of ownership but it is really the gateway to opportunity, and today more opportunity is going to be open for farmers. ...
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The U.S. Senate voted to open debate on a one trillion-dollar bipartisan infrastructure package Wednesday. Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio was among the lawmakers able to come to an agreement moving the bill to the floor. “Every American believes that roads and bridges, ports, waterways, even our digital infrastructure needs to be updated,” he says. Portman says the bill won’t raise taxes.  Instead, additional funds will come from several sources including unspent COVID-19 relief efforts. ...
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