New policy and new dollars for USDA Rural Development programs are coming with the signing of the new Farm Bill earlier this month.
Doug O’Brien, USDA Deputy Undersecretary for Rural Development, says there will be 68-Million dollars for the next five years for the Value-Added Producer program that was at risk of being unfunded. He tells Brownfield Ag News, “That is a very popular, very effective program in rural America.”
In addition, O’Brien says the Bio-Refinery guaranteed loan program is also fully funded in the Farm Bill, “Businesses who want to take biomass and turn it into fuel and now with new policy in the farm bill these businesses that also want to take biomass, things that are grown on farms in the United States and turn them into other types of products – plastic, resins, et cetera. There’s some significant dollars to support those guaranteed loans to build that business.”
O’Brien says the Farm Bill gives the agency the new ability to prioritize programs that are part of a regional development strategy and he says there are important new changes to the Broadband and Waste Water system programs.