Farmers Say Rural Communities Need More Help From USDA

October 18, 2018 02:33 PM
This week on AgriTalk’s Farmer Forum, farmers said the No. 1 thing USDA could do to help is to provide more support to rural America.

This week on AgriTalk’s Farmer Forum, farmers said the No. 1 thing USDA could do to help is to provide more support to rural America.

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue posed this question to farmers on the show, “What are three things you would say, from your perspective as an agricultural producer, that USDA could do to help you be better, do better and be more profitable?”

For Missouri farmer Andrew McCrea, the first thing that comes to mind is rural development support.

“It would be great to have rural broadband,” he said. “It's hard for me to connect. It's hard to do business and, you know, we're in a day and age where you need to be able to connect and pull down enough speed.”

In addition, McCrea said his rural community is seeing a lot of businesses leave.

“Our local town lost our grocery store and a couple of restaurants in the last year or so,” he said. “We need great farms and strong farms, but we also need those communities. So, how do you develop small towns and make sure you don't have to drive 45 minutes for groceries or for a doctor, and you've got a lawyer? Those things are important, and they make a difference in your bottom line when you don't have them close by.”

Illinois farmer Rock Katschnig said drawing down stocks of surplus commodities is at the top of his list.

“The first thing that came to my mind was we're looking at a huge surplus of milk, corn, and soy. Help us distribute our products and get rid of these surpluses,” he said. “I see these sad, sad stories of third-world countries where families [are starving]. Why can’t we get product to those places and help take the supply down?”

In South Dakota, Ryan Wagner said access to power and water are issues.

“It’d be nice if we had some sort of program to get three-phase power to a couple of these remote farm locations,” he said. “That would help a lot with the bigger grain systems, dryers and other things on the farm. Also, rural water in our area is going to be a concern. Our local rural water provider has a moratorium right now on new bulk customers, and that can really inhibit ag development in our area.”

If you could advise Secretary Perdue to spend time working on one specific thing, what would that be? Share in the comments or send me an email at

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Spell Check

Lubbock , TX
10/18/2018 10:24 PM

  While everyone of the items mentioned are worthy of consideration I can’t help but note the irony that my Republicans farmer friends call my Democratic friends sob socialists for wanting government to support some of these similar projects. Frankly if we want things we need to pay for them. Paying taxes to government whether it’s local, state or federal is one way of paying for these wants & needs. Furthermore businesses have to be competitive to include farming. Otherwise they will fail & government should not be picking winners or causing losers. My home town no longer has a grocery store either. The shoppers made that choice. It does have a few convenient stores & a Dollar General store that provides the basics. That the free market at work. Accept it.

Senior PA Dairy Farmer
Westfield, PA
10/21/2018 05:50 PM

  A stupid article to demoralize “the troops,” all propaganda passing as "ag/farm/dairy" media messaging to brainwash those reading this tripe. No one immersed in rural America's current economic nightmare believes for one minute "broadband" is the #1 item on a dairy farmer's USDA reform wish-list. “Broadband" is always on AFB and NFU “Farm" Bill wish-lists, too, proving how out of touch with rural financial misery they are. The press and old-guard farm/dairy organizations must stop being apologists for the bi-partisan federal global "Ag" plan impoverishing farmers and rural America for decades since the onset of rabid government support for all things "Free Trade," driving independent businesses from rural America's Main Streets, replaced by corporate chain stores—all pulled off when federal policymakers disconnected "commodity" prices from farmers' Constitutional RIGHT to safeguard their private property and self-determination with US "cost of production" pricing at the farm BEFORE anything moves into any "markets," local or “global,” with farmer-controlled "supply management/reserves." Rural citizens must be in charge of their own destiny and daily life, not fat-cat "New World Order" politicians. DC Swampers on Ag Committees, at USDA, in the White House, and throughout Congress must get out of our lives for rural America to prevail. Rural communities are being used--and used up--by rapacious global corporate supranational commodity speculators who bought and paid for "special interest" status in DC to create rural dependency on mass-produced, de-valued farm products priced so far below legitimate US "cost of production," farmers CANNOT hold onto their farms or sustain vibrant rural businesses in towns where farmers circulate money needed to maintain local rural infrastructures. Without a stable rural infrastructure, financed by prosperous farms across the US, we have lost our family-based rural communities, along with our national sovereignty and food security.

Ulysses, KS
10/19/2018 06:14 AM

  It’s impossible to believe that rural broadband is the first thing that comes to mind for any farmer right now . How about the USDA stop GUESSING at Yields , Acreages , ending stocks and carry out ,stop standing the markets on its head every thirty days with these REDICULOUS reports. I agree with the Rock , if the USDA wants to help then find a way to get commodities and ag products to hungry people around the world and we won’t have these surplus problems. Not sure what the democrats really want , I don’t have any democrat friends, I’ve never met a democrat that I could stand to be around for more than about two seconds , but the truth is I doubt anyone really cares what I think .


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