Clements: The America Farm Bureau Federation says the President’s infrastructure proposal would bring long-overdue improvements to rural areas. The proposed $50 billion will fund rural infrastructure projects. AFBF congressional relations director Andrew Walmsley says that funding would provide a boost to rural communities.
Walmsley: That means a lot to rural America, the opportunity that those dollars are available strictly to rural America, and it's available for a whole host of projects. The other thing that’s appealing about that is that it provides a lot of local control back to the states to prioritize those rural projects that are most needed in their communities. There’s other parts that are obviously helpful in the proposal, from permitting streamlining and other improvements, but that’s a big piece.
Clements: Walmsley says various types of infrastructure are important to farm and ranch businesses.
Walmsley: Farmers are pretty dependent on a whole host of different infrastructure needs, from roads and bridges, to our inland waterways to rail, to rural water systems. Obviously broadband, being able to connect to the world and having access to that technology and connecting many of the innovating things that we are doing on are farm through smart farming and different technologies. And it's something that we appreciate the president pushing forward, recognizing the unique needs of rural America.
Clements: Walmsley says AFBF will work with others in agriculture to support improvements to rural infrastructure.
Walmsley: Obviously, the challenge will be on the Hill. Ultimately Congress will decide what an infrastructure package looks like as they write the laws, and we’re willing and able to work with our partners there to move this package forward.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.