Task Force Calls For Support of Rural Communities

January 23, 2018

A special panel’s report issued this month recommends five dimensions of action the federal government should initiate to meet the economic and infrastructure needs of rural communities across the nation.

“American prosperity and well-being are intrinsically tied to rural America’s ability to thrive in the new global economy,” according to the group.

Chaired by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity devoted six months to discussions and listening sessions while preparing the report.

The recommendations include substantially enhancing high-speed internet connections, improving access to public services, basic infrastructure and medical care, developing better educational and training programs for the rural work place, especially in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and expanding funding options for farm families to adopt innovative agricultural systems.

Task force members identified legislative, regulatory and policy changes necessary to achieve these goals. They also called for the creation of a permanent Commission on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity.

Perdue officially released the report during the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee on Jan. 8.

The text of the report is posted at https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/rural-prosperity-report.pdf.