House Ag Committee Ranking Member David Scott, D-Ga., identified five key issues he plans to prioritize in the upcoming Farm Bill. They include expanding rural broadband, which Scott says should be funded through USDA to help bridge the digital divide between rural and urban America. According to him, USDA knows what works for rural communities better than other federal agencies and will provide more immediate solutions to rural communities that do not have adequate or affordable broadband access.
Scott wants to add an additional $100 million in funding to the 1890 Land Grant African American College and University Student Scholarship Program and make the program permanent.
“This is critical to developing our future generations of scientists, producers and leaders in our agriculture industry,” he says.
To assist small family cattle farmers and ranchers, Scott is advocating extending and strengthening the safety net for livestock producers. He also vowed to defend and protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - or SNAP - and federal nutrition programs.
“We need to maintain the nutrition safety net and examine any gaps in coverage while ensuring that job opportunities, education and training are available,” he says.
Scott’s final Farm Bill priority is to help producers combat climate change. He says the current Farm Bill’s conservation title programs are oversubscribed. He proposes increasing the technical assistance available to work with agriculture producers.
During his time as the Ag Committee Chair, Scott says he conducted numerous hearings to review the 2018 Farm Bill and identify improvements that could be made in 2023. He also hosted five Farm Bill listening sessions around the country to hear from producers, consumers and stakeholders about what current policies are working and which ones are not.
“The feedback we received both here in Washington, DC, and across the country has developed my key priorities as now Ranking Member, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on defining our shared priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill,” Scott says.
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