U.S. Congressman Mike McIntyre recently spoke to the Congressional Rural Caucus on the importance of a strong Rural Development Title in the upcoming Farm Bill. In his remarks, Congressman McIntyre stated,
"Citizens in rural places experience great difficulty in accessing the infrastructure and amenities that are available in our urban centers. The modern economy requires that businesses be able to access broadband services to connect to the global marketplace, electric power to run equipment, and clean water to support communities that supply the labor and skills needed for commerce. Rural Americans deserve the attention of their government and need an agency that directly focuses on addressing rural problems. Those that work at USDA Rural Development live in the communities that they serve and are intimately aware of what rural means and what needs to be done to ensure that rural America remains a place that families choose to live and businesses are able to grow. To falter in our efforts to develop the rural economy would be a great disservice to the 20% of the US population that lives in a rural community, not just in North Carolina but throughout the country. The costs associated with bringing needed services to rural America can be high. Utility companies and telecommunications providers must incur higher capital costs to make the investments necessary to provide services to rural Americans on par with those that we take for granted in urban centers, but rural communities and businesses have continually shown us that they can and will responsibly take on these investments when financing for such endeavors is available.
"The United States Department of Agriculture has been at the center of the effort in addressing rural economic challenges. This effort began in the last century with rural electrification and today nearly all rural residents are able to access power and connect to telephone services. The successes of our rural electric and telephone systems did not happen without leadership, vision and partnership between the public, non-profit, and private sectors and the challenges of investing in rural infrastructure are not a thing of the past. We face many of the same difficulties today. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and on the Agriculture Committee to give USDA and our rural partners the ability to make the high value, high return investment necessary to ensure that rural America remains a place that families choose to live and businesses are able to grow. I will continue to work with USDA and stakeholders back home to do the work that needs to be done to ensure a vibrant and dynamic rural economy."