Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) released the following statement applauding the Senate’s final approval of the Farm Bill, which includes provisions that strengthen conservation efforts across the country. In addition, the Farm Bill includes two bipartisan provisions introduced by Cortez Masto, which will create a permanent interagency rural council and a rural broadband integration working group.
“I’m pleased that this critical bipartisan legislation to advance the United States’ agricultural economy and protect the best interests of our farmers and ranchers has passed. The final package contains several priorities for Nevada: it preserves funding for land and water conservation, food assistance programs, and includes provisions that prioritize the needs of Tribal communities. It also includes bipartisan provisions that I introduced, which would create a permanent interagency rural council to address the unique needs of rural communities and a working group dedicated to expanding broadband access in rural areas. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in a bipartisan manner to address issues that matter most to Nevadans.”
Cortez Masto successfully included two provisions in the final Farm Bill:
- The creation of a “Council on Rural Community Innovation and Economic Development,” which will:
- Create a Standing Interagency council to address rural issues: Creates a permanent mechanism for all relevant federal agencies with rural programmatic assets to communicate and share expertise and resources.
- Require a report on “Rural Smart Communities”: A year after its creation, the Council shall submit a report describing efforts of rural areas to integrate “smart” innovative technology into their communities to solve local challenges relating to energy, transportation, health care, law enforcement, housing, and a host of additional issues.
- Distribute a Smart Community Resource Guide: This resource guide will be a compilation of existing Federal and non-Federal programs available to rural communities that could aid them in adopting smart community practices, strategies, and technologies.
- Create a Rural Jobs Accelerator Sub-Committee within the Council: This will improve the ability of rural communities to create high-wage jobs, accelerate the formation of new businesses, and strengthen regional economies.
- The creation of the Rural Broadband Integration Working Group: This stand-alone working group will identify and address regulatory barriers that may impede rural broadband deployment throughout the federal government.