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House appropriations bill sets stage or rural program funding

Recently, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee released its draft agriculture appropriations bill for 2023. The bill outlines funding for multiple programs that benefit rural America, including Conservation Technical Assistance and the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program.

“The center relies on lawmakers to show their support for these programs through the appropriations process,” said Kalee Olson, policy associate for the Center. “This year, we’re pleased to see the House propose an increased investment in CTA.”

Offered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, CTA supports farmers and ranchers with the implementation of practices to improve soil health and water quality. The recommended funding level of $883.7 million is a nearly $124 million increase from 2022.

With this funding, Olson said, more producers will have access to assistance with cover crops, rotational grazing, and other practices that play an important role in the nation’s efforts to address climate change.

While support was strong for CTA, proposed funding fell short for RMAP. The $6 million is $500,000 less than the budget for 2022 and $2 million lower than the center’s requested $8 million.

“RMAP is essential for small businesses in our rural communities because it is often their only option for financial or technical assistance,” Olson said. “Funding for the program needs to increase, as these microbusinesses are what keep rural main streets vibrant.”

The House budget follows President Joe Biden’s budget released in March. The Senate agriculture appropriations budget is expected in the next couple of months.


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