Clements: Farm groups sent a letter to the president Wednesday, asking for projects in rural America to be included in any future infrastructure improvement plans. The Trump administration has hinted at funding an infrastructure improvement package for the nation. Andrew Walmsley, a congressional relations director for the American Farm Bureau Federation, says any infrastructure plan needs to include rural America.
Walmsley: We’ve heard a lot of talk from the administration and on the Hill about an infrastructure package, whether it’s this year or next year, looking at putting a lot of money and resources into infrastructure projects. While we value that, and think there’s a need to update, modernize and repair a lot of our infrastructure projects, the real impetus of this letter was to address and to remind folks of the needs in rural America.
Clements: Walmsley says the number of groups signing the letter shows the need to address infrastructure concerns in rural America.
Walmsley: It just shows the importance of the issue to a whole host of different groups out in rural America that see the need for investment into our rural infrastructure. We saw some stimulus packages over the past couple of years, but there wasn’t that much that really went to rural infrastructure. So, if we’re going to go down this path again, it’s important for all of us to ring the warning bell that there is a real need in the countryside of America to address these infrastructure concerns.
Clements: With more than 60 percent of U.S. exports moving down the Mississippi River, Walmsley says improving waterways infrastructure in rural America will keep U.S. farmers competitive in global markets.
Walmsley: All of our infrastructure, for that matter, is both a sustainability issue as far as making sure our farmers can get a fair price and get their products to market, but also be able to compete in a world stage where margins matter and we have been competitive because of our fine infrastructure and we can’t let it lax and fall behind.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.
Communications Assistant, AFBF