On February 7, President Obama signed HR 2462 into law. The Agriculture Act of 2014 (HR 2462) authorizes agricultural, environmental and community assistance programs through the end of fiscal year 2018 and contains provisions that support infrastructure and the environment.
The bill establishes a new initiative called the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). As a member of the Healthy Waters Coalition, APWA worked to get the RCPP initiative included in the final version of the bill. The RCPP encourages farmers to partner with non-agricultural entities, such as wastewater utilities and municipal stormwater agencies, to use available resources to address polluted runoff that flows in the municipal water supply as a result of farming practices. Consequentially, this reduces water treatment costs for neighboring utilities, saving ratepayers money.
The legislation also authorizes $228 million in programs that provide loans and grants for infrastructure projects in small towns and rural communities. Key programs in the Rural Development Title of the bill include the Water and Wastewater program, which helps rural communities maintain their water and wastewater infrastructure by providing $150 million in grant funds. Providing jobs and supporting economic development in rural America is an APWA priority. As a member of the Campaign for Renewed Rural Development, APWA worked to ensure that the Rural Development title of the farm bill was fully funded so it could authorize these programs that support the public works community.
The Senate previously approved HR 2462 by a vote of 68-32 and the House passed the bill by a vote of 251-166. To learn more about The Agriculture Act of 2014, click here
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