December 13, 2018
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, says that her bipartisan Broadband Connections for Rural Opportunities Program Act (B-CROP Act), was included as a provision in the final Senate-passed version of the Farm Bill. Gillibrand noted that this will expand the current USDA Rural Utilities Service Broadband Program to allow for new grant funding for rural broadband projects in high-need areas. Nationally, nearly a quarter of rural Americans and nearly a third of tribal residents lack access to broadband internet service.
“I’m very pleased that my bipartisan legislation to bring high-speed internet to our rural communities was included in the final Senate-passed version of the Farm Bill,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Reliable, high-speed internet access isn’t a luxury anymore – it is a necessity and one of the most important tools that communities need in order to thrive. Our schools, hospitals, and businesses rely on the internet in order to conduct their daily work, and it’s unacceptable that some of our rural communities still don’t have access to this essential technology. My bipartisan legislation would help bring much-needed federal funding to rural communities that want to install broadband internet but don’t have the resources to do it on their own. I am so proud that my provision was included in the final Farm Bill that has passed on the Senate floor, and I urge my colleagues in the House of Representatives to quickly pass it into law.”
The Senate-passed Farm Bill also increases the annual funding level of the USDA broadband program to $350 million. Without access to high-quality, affordable broadband service, workers have fewer opportunities for good-paying jobs, farmers and business owners are isolated from new markets, children are limited in their educational opportunities, and health care providers do not have reliable access to the most advanced technology available to help patients. The Senate-passed final version of the Farm Bill will now head to the U.S. House of Representatives for a vote.
Congressman Tom Reed voted for the Farm Bill, which passed in the House of Representatives yesterday. Reed says he did this to help small dairy farmers when milk prices are low, legalize the production of hemp and ensure a safety net is available for our friends and neighbors when they fall upon hard times. “This farm bill not only supports our hardworking farmers we care about, but also ensures our families are given a fair hand up when they fall upon hard times,” Tom said. “And as always, we are proud to continue our efforts to ensure increased funding and standards for rural broadband ac
Reed says that this farm bill:
• Overhauls our dairy farmer protection program to ensure small dairy producers are prioritized.
• Legalizes the production of hemp.
• Provides $350 million in funding for rural broadband access and increases internet speed standards.
• Authorizes funding for organic farmers and specialty crop research.
• Improves crop insurance programs.