If you care about small towns and rural communities, then you'll want to make sure to pay close attention to recent developments coming out of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Recently, Donald Trump’s USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue released a plan eliminating the Undersecretary of Rural Development. The plan effectively demotes rural revitalization at the USDA in favor of boosting international trade that benefits millionaires and billionaires in the Agricultural industry.
So instead of expanding federal programs to rebuild rural America, the Trump Administration is demoting and cutting the only program at the United States Department of Agriculture solely focused on supporting small towns and rural communities.
That's why the National Farmers Union and a diverse coalition of rural organizations are calling on Congress to prevent any attempt to eliminate the Rural Development Mission Area saying that rural America "should not have to choose between production agriculture and critical economic development investments."
The letter goes on to say, "We need core services and programs aimed directly at addressing the unique and diverse needs of rural communities."
The Rural Development mission area oversees a $216 billion portfolio with over 40 different programs, as well as roughly 5,000 employees and 400 offices nationally that oversee critical investments in rural transportation infrastructure, high-speed broadband, affordable water, quality schools and public safety.
And the move by the Trump administration is simply the latest in a series of decisions that undermine rural revitalization efforts including the elimination of the Community Development Block Grant program, the Rural Business-Cooperative Service programs and the Rural Water Wastewater Program.
If you agree that federal USDA programs should prioritize rebuilding small towns and rural communities, not international trade that only benefits the millionaire and billionaires in the agricultural industry, please join with me in signing this petition.