Promoting Local Agriculture and Rural Development
In New Hampshire, the agricultural industry contributes nearly one billion dollars to our local economy every year. With over 400,000 acres of land across the Granite State devoted to everything from timber operations and greenhouses to dairy farms and apple orchards, agriculture is an integral part of our landscape and history. I was proud to be the first Representative from New Hampshire to serve on the House Agriculture Committee in decades, and honored to be named as a Conferee to the Farm Bill Conference Committee in July 2018. This committee had the task of reconciling the House-passed and Senate-passed Farm Bills into the final 2018 Farm Bill, which was signed into law in December 2018.
In my role on the Conference Committee, I advocated for priorities to be included in the Farm Bill that would benefit small family farms in New Hampshire, rural communities, and vulnerable New Hampshire residents who need food assistance. In addition, I highlighted the importance of working across the aisle to protect New Hampshire’s dairy producers, enhance conservation efforts, invest in USDA-Rural Development and protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
I also fought successfully to include key provisions from my legislation, the Homegrown Organic Act of 2017, in the final Farm Bill. One of these provisions removes a separate payment limit for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program Organic Initiative (EQIP-OI), which provides financial assistance to implement environmentally friendly conservation practices for organic producers. Practices administered through EQIP-OI can help improve soil quality and enhance nutrient management, and this provision provides additional financial support to producers who wish to transition to organic. The other provision adjusts the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) by directing the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a “bundle” of conservation practices that is dedicated to organic transition. Both provisions will help decrease our country’s reliance on imports of organic food, which is a win-win for our economy, environment and families nationwide.
Additionally, I was proud to work with Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) to secure provisions in the Farm Bill to strengthen the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) and expand the reach of the program into Cheshire and Belknap counties. The NBRC has a proven track record of supporting rural development projects that are having a positive impact on communities in northern and western parts of New Hampshire and expanding NBRC’s reach will allow more Granite State communities to grow and thrive.
I also used my role on the Conference Committee to advocate for New Hampshire’s dairy producers, fighting successfully to repeal the flawed Margin Protection Program and replacing it with a program in the Farm Bill that offers flexible options and lower costs for dairy producers.
More on Promoting Local Agriculture and Rural Development
Washington, D.C. – Today, Representative Annie Kuster (NH-02) led a group of 19 Members of Congress in sending a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue urging the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure as much food as possible purchased through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) is locally sourced and procured from small and mid-sized producers.
Concord, NH - Today, Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02) introduced bipartisan legislation to provide additional financial flexibility to the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC), a rural economic development agency headquartered in Concord. The Northern Border Regional Commission Financial Flexibility Act would waive requirements for NBRC Economic & Infrastructure Development grant recipients – currently, 20% of each project’s cost must come from non-Federal sources.
Washington, D.C. – Today, Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Marcia Fudge (OH-11) led a group of 20 Members of Congress in sending a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Assistant Secretary Devon Westhill. The Members urged Westhill, who assumed office on Monday, to improve USDA civil rights enforcement and protect the rights of USDA workers and program applicants to the full extent and letter of law.
Giving Thanks and Sharing Holiday Cheer with our Veterans
Washington, DC – Earlier this week, Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02) applauded passage of a government funding bill that included an increase in funding for the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC). Kuster led a bipartisan call for a $3 million increase for the successful economic development program. The NBRC will now be funded at $25 million per year.
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced today with U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded more than $300,000 in federal grants for a variety of projects throughout Cheshire and Coos Counties that invest in rural community development.
(Concord, NH) — Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) announced with U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Rural Development has awarded the City of Franklin a $30,000 grant. The funding will be used to help further economic development in the city. Specifically, Franklin is hoping to attract investors to finish the re-purposing and revitalization of the core downtown business district, with specific properties being targeted for re-development or renovations.
Honoring Those Who Have Served
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen announced today with Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) that the town of Littleton has been awarded $250,000 in funding from the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) in partnership with the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA).