December 6, 2023

Rural People want insurance policies that put money into rural communities, assist small farmers compete with massive agri-businesses, and maintain companies accountable, in response to a brand new report launched Monday.

The 2023 Rural Coverage Motion Report, put collectively by a nationwide collaborative of over 30 rural coverage and advocacy organizations, in addition to native elected officers, requires particular investments, coverage enhancements, and regulatory reforms “to offer instruments rural folks must succeed.”

The report consists of coverage suggestions divided into 4 key pillars centered on a bunch of points that contributors mentioned are important to the success of rural communities, together with financial coverage, rural well being care, schooling, and local weather coverage.

The report is the end result of months of labor from the coalition, together with an April summit centered on discussing their federal and state coverage priorities to assist rural communities throughout america.

Listed here are the 4 pillars of the report and the insurance policies contributors are calling for:

Defend Folks’s Freedom To Dwell and Work Safely and With out Discrimination

The report calls for shielding democracy and entry to voting by passing the For the Folks Act, which would cut back the affect of huge cash in politics, ban partisan gerrymandering, strengthen ethics guidelines for public servants, and implement different anti-corruption measures for the aim of fortifying our democracy. The group additionally known as on lawmakers to make it simpler to vote by mail and to revive the voting rights of previously incarcerated folks.

The report expresses assist for the Equity for Farmworkers Act, which might give farmworkers equal rights to time beyond regulation pay and minimal wage requirements, and the Youngster Labor Exploitation Accountability Act, which might guarantee US Division of Agriculture (USDA) contractors adjust to labor legal guidelines, broaden baby labor legal guidelines to unbiased contractors, and enhance penalties for baby labor legislation violations.

It additional calls on the federal government to offer extra alternatives for Black farmers; acknowledge Native nations and honor treaties; present rural communities which were victims of air pollution with authorized pathways to carry polluters accountable; enhance investments in counties with persistently excessive charges of poverty; and restore entry to abortion care nationwide.

Put money into Foundational Infrastructure for Thriving Communities

The report’s contributors clarify that addressing rural infrastructure is essential for the way forward for these communities.

They name for “fixing the two-tier tax system” that makes it so billionaires and a few companies pay decrease taxes than center class staff; passing the Small Enterprise Lending Disclosure Act, which might improve transparency on small enterprise loans and shield companies from predatory lending practices; and reauthorizing the Safe Rural Colleges Program, which supplies important funding for faculties, roads, and different municipal providers to greater than 700 counties throughout the nation.

The report additionally requires passing payments to handle trainer and college workers shortages in rural communities; investments in early childhood schooling by offering common pre-Okay; and the passage of the Save Rural Hospitals Act, which might protect entry to rural well being care, create alternatives for rural important care services, and put money into rural well being care providers.

The authors additionally name for higher help for farmers, increasing entry to baby care in rural communities, investing in rural broadband, and passing the Rural Housing Service Reform Act, which might enhance the standard of rural housing applications.

Rein In Unchecked Company Greed and Safeguard the Energy of Employees, Small Companies, and Household Farmers To Construct a Good Life

The report requires the passage of a number of items of laws centered on placing checks on company energy and strengthening antitrust coverage.

The contributors additionally spotlight the urgency of passing the Farm System Reform Act, which might maintain company agribusinesses accountable for his or her air pollution, enact a manufacturing unit farm moratorium, and assist transition to extra sustainable livestock manufacturing; and the American Beef Labeling Act, which might reinstate necessary “Nation of Origin Labeling” on beef and pork.

Additionally they name for laws to strengthen Medicare and decrease prescription drug prices so as to enhance rural entry to remedy.

The report makes clear that empowering staff can be a key precedence, demanding the passage of a number of payments that may broaden the definitions of unfair labor practices, shield staff’ rights to barter hours, location, and scheduling of their work, and broaden office security and well being necessities.

Guarantee Alternatives for a Extra Safe, Affluent, and Sustainable Future

Pillar 4 of the report requires the passage of the Local weather Stewardship Act, which would supply elevated funding for USDA conservation applications, renewable power applications, and ecosystem restoration. The report additionally requires the passage of payments that may shield water high quality and confront the impacts of local weather change on American farms, make extra funding obtainable for small farms throughout the nation, and supply steady and dependable funding for rural public lands, county providers, and schooling.

Lastly, the report requires the growth of the Empowering Rural America Program (New ERA) and the Powering Inexpensive Clear Power Program, which might create rural jobs and retire sure fossil gasoline crops.

Earlier Successes

The report additionally highlights insurance policies that the Biden administration has beforehand applied that profit rural America, such because the Inflation Discount Act (IRA).

Erik Hatlestad from Clear Up the River Atmosphere (CURE), a rural, nonprofit group that prioritizes the well being of land and water, writes within the report how the IRA’s incentives and applications will leverage tens of billions of {dollars} in funding in rural electrical co-ops and communities to create 90,000 jobs, cut back power prices by as much as 20%, and remove large quantities of greenhouse gasoline emissions.

“Our success is one among many main victories that rural leaders and rural communities fought for and received within the Inflation Discount Act,” Hatlestad wrote.

The report additionally highlights the passage of a Rural Playbook, which was a part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Regulation. The playbook was launched with the intention of serving to rural communities perceive the “the place, what, and the way” of making use of for federal infrastructure {dollars} allotted by the invoice, in response to the White Home.

The report comes as lawmakers have but to finalize the 2023 Farm Invoice, a significant supply of federal funding in rural America. The 2018 Farm Invoice expires on Sept. 30, the identical day authorities funding runs out barring congressional intervention.

Senate Agriculture Chair Debbie Stabenow informed Politico final week that senators aren’t searching for a farm invoice extension within the ongoing combat over laws to fund the federal government and avert a shutdown on Oct. 1.

  • Isabel Soisson

    Isabel Soisson

    Isabel Soisson is a multimedia journalist who has labored at WPMT FOX43 TV in Harrisburg, together with serving varied roles at CNBC, NBC Information, Philadelphia Journal, and Philadelphia Type Journal.