Many in agriculture announced their pleasure with the U.S. Senate passed this morning of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The bill includes investments of importance to many areas agriculture.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
(WASHINGTON, August 10, 2021) — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released the following statement following Senate passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The bill will now go to the House for consideration.
“Last month, President Biden stood with a bipartisan group of Members of Congress at the White House to announce the framework of an infrastructure deal that will benefit all Americans. Today that legislation takes an important step towards becoming law and creating good-paying jobs and growing our economy for decades to come.
“Rural America stands to benefit from this historic long-term investment in our infrastructure and economic competitiveness. From tackling some of the greatest challenges we face today, to making long-term investments in the rural areas that are the heart of our nation, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will ensure we build back better, stronger, and more resilient and equitable than ever before.
“For rural communities that lack adequate access to high-speed internet, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act delivers broadband to rural homes, communities and businesses across the country – increasing access to jobs, education, health care, banking, and markets for farmers and rural small businesses. It also upgrades our power infrastructure, improves drinking water, and connects rural communities through upgraded roads and bridges.
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act invests in building resilience to climate change, while creating good-paying jobs to safeguard our communities at risk. The bill helps farmers grappling with intensifying drought and makes the West’s water infrastructure more resilient. Importantly, the bill will increase the scale of wildfire mitigation, funds reforestation projects, and improves post-fire restoration activities so we can better support communities recovering from fire, better manage our forests, and do more to protect our natural resources and outdoor recreation opportunities. With investments in environmental remediation, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act also advances economic opportunity for hard-hit rural communities affected by legacy pollution such as brownfields and abandoned mines.
“When we work together as Americans, we can lay the foundation for decades of prosperity, especially in rural communities. When rural America reaches its full potential, all of America is better positioned to compete in a global economy. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is evidence that this is achievable and I look forward to working alongside President Biden and Congress to see to it that all of the benefits of this bill touch every corner of our Country.”
Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Passage in Senate is Step in the Right Direction
(ARLINGTON, Va./Aug. 10, 2021) — Today the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) applauds the U.S. Senate’s passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).
“The Senate’s passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a step in the right direction for rural America and U.S. ag retailers,” said ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock. “The investments included in the IIJA are long overdue and safeguard the ability of the agriculture industry to continue to do its job to bring a safe, plentiful, and consistent supply of food, fiber, and fuel to the American people and the world.”
The bill incorporates the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021, which passed the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works unanimously, and the Surface Transportation Investment Act, passed by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation with bipartisan support. It also includes the Senate-passed Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act and the Energy Infrastructure Act, which received bipartisan support in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
“We are happy to see the ARA-supported provisions to reform the Farm-Related Restricted Commercial Drivers License Program as well as an apprenticeship-type program for younger commercial drivers ages 18 to 20 to help address the industry’s growing driver shortage included in the language,” said Coppock.
Other ARA-supported provisions include:
- Authorization of $303.5 billion from the Highway Trust Fund for roads and bridges over five years;
- Creation of a competitive grant program to address the surface transportation infrastructure of rural communities;
- Codification of the One Federal Decision policy, which establishes a two-year goal for completion of environmental reviews for infrastructure projects;
- Authorization of the Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success (ROUTES) initiative, which was previously created under the Trump administration. The ROUTES initiative seeks to support the transportation needs of rural communities; and
- Authorization of $42.5 billion to carry out a new grant program administered by the Commerce Department to provide grants to states to expand broadband to unserved and underserved areas and help bridge the digital divide.
“We applaud the bipartisanship that went into the passage of this bill and urge the U.S. House of Representatives to do the same, and in short order,” said Coppock. “The need for investment in infrastructure has long been a priority for ARA, and we will continue to work to ensure the needs of ag retailers, their farmer customers, and all of rural America are met.”
Infrastructure Package to Help Rural Communities Compete
(WASHINGTON, August 10, 2021) — American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented today on the Senate passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
“AFBF appreciates the Senate for working together in a bipartisan manner to pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The pressing infrastructure issues facing our nation are too important to ignore, particularly in rural communities where modernization is desperately needed.
“Farmers and ranchers depend on millions of miles of roadways and waterways to get their products to America’s dinner tables, and they rely on ports to ship food, fiber and fuel to countries around the world. Improvements in transportation infrastructure, as well as repair and upgrades to the aging western water infrastructure, will ensure farmers can continue to keep this nation fed.
“Extending digital access to rural America is just as important as paved roads and solid bridges. Increased funding to bring broadband to hundreds of thousands of farms that currently have no access to the internet will help farmers meet the demands of a growing world while using emerging technologies to build on climate-smart practices.
“We thank the Senate for working toward solutions while preserving important tax provisions that make it possible for farmers to pass the family business to the next generation.
“We urge leaders in the House to follow the Senate’s lead by leaving tax rates and stepped-up basis unchanged. Through bipartisan efforts we can continue to find commonsense solutions. We are closely watching the progress of this important legislation and will continue to work to protect the future of farming while creating opportunities for rural America.”
Senate Infrastructure Package is a Step in the Right Direction
(WASHINGTON/August 10, 2021) — The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) issued the following statement in response to the Senate passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act:
“We are pleased to see the Senate has passed an infrastructure package that will benefit American cattle producers. Investments in infrastructure are critical to ensure that those in rural America, including farmers and ranchers, have the necessary resources to operate the businesses that serve as the backbone of rural economies,” said Executive Director of Government Affairs Allison Rivera. “We see this legislation as a step in the right direction and will continue working with Members of Congress to ensure that the needs of cattle and beef producers are included in a final infrastructure bill.”
NCGA: Passage of Senate Infrastructure Bill a Positive Development that Would Benefit Farmers
(NCGA/August 10, 2021) —
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) applauds the U.S. Senate for today’s passage of the bipartisan infrastructure package, which includes investments in important areas to corn growers.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime investment in America’s infrastructure, and we are extremely pleased that it includes funding for priorities that are important to farmers and rural America,” said President of the National Corn Growers Association John Linder. “The legislation will benefit agriculture for years to come, and it is encouraging for corn farmers to see Senators working together on a bipartisan basis.”
Among the items included in the bill:
- $17.3 billion for the nation’s ports and inland waterways. With 60% of corn exports utilizing these waterways, NCGA and coalition partners have a track record of advocating for these key resources.
- $65 billion for broadband internet access, including $2 billion specifically for rural broadband, which will provide more farmers and residents of rural areas with high-speed internet access. An estimated 29% of farmers don’t have access to internet service, an important tool for marketing crops and planning for planting season.
“Whether it’s shipping corn and corn products on America’s highways and waterways or using technology to order supplies or sell crops, farmers rely on a safe, stable and reliable national infrastructure,” Linder said. “Corn growers need these investments in infrastructure to continue to be successful and competitive globally.”
While NCGA supports many aspects of the bill, NCGA was disappointed the Senate did not take up important amendments to fund infrastructure to support the use of higher ethanol blends and to provide a narrow fix to ensure continued full market access for ethanol blends at 15% of the volume of gasoline year-round (E15), Linder said.
“Greater market deployment of higher ethanol blends would immediately lower greenhouse gas emissions and help clean the air, and higher blends save consumers money at the pump,” he said. “We will continue to work with members of Congress and the Biden Administration on pathways to include infrastructure and other support for higher blends of biofuels as an effective clean energy solution.”
Linder said he thanks Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) for submitting a biofuels infrastructure amendment and Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Deb Fischer (R-N.E.) and 11 bipartisan co-sponsors for filing an amendment to ensure continued year-round access to E15.
The legislation, which does not include tax increases for individuals or corporations as previously proposed, now goes to the House of Representatives.
Farm Credit Commends Senate, Urges House to Pass Infrastructure Legislation
(WASHINGTON, D.C./August 10, 2021) — Farm Credit Council President and CEO Todd Van Hoose made the following statement on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: “Farm Credit thanks the Senate for its bipartisan efforts to pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This legislation will create jobs and improve quality of life across the country, including in rural America.
“The investments in rural broadband will connect more communities. Improvements to rural water systems will ensure safe drinking water supplies and adequate wastewater systems. And the agriculture transport network will benefit from improved rural roadways and bridges, freight rail, inland waterways and port facilities.
“All of these investments will make U.S. agriculture more competitive in global markets and our rural communities more vital places to live and work.
“Farm Credit urges lawmakers in the House pass this bipartisan legislation quickly. It will bring much-needed investment to rural America and its infrastructure.”