The Farm Bill must include a strong rural development title that promotes federal programs designed to help improve the quality of life in rural America. The Farm Bill should contain tools that help electric cooperatives perform some of our most basic functions. First, it must provide financing for the basic electrification that is still essential to keeping the lights on in rural America. Second, the Farm Bill needs to facilitate the innovative work electric cooperatives do to deploy high speed communications technologies, generate and distribute electricity from renewable sources, and manage the electric grid more securely and efficiently. The Farm Bill must also support the role of many electric cooperatives as important economic development organizations in the communities we serve.
The current Farm Bill expires in September 2018. House and Senate Agriculture committees have already begun an extensive process to reauthorize this legislation. During 2017, NRECA and our members had the opportunity to provide feedback at nine different Congressional oversight hearings on the Farm Bill. As Congress now begins to draft new Farm Bill legislation, NRECA submitted these priorities for consideration that we believe promote a stronger rural America.