A new poll indicates rural residents feel the federal government is ignoring the needs of their communities. The poll, commissioned by the Center for Rural Affairs, just goes to show that rural communities want and need economic help from the government, according to executive director Chuck Hassebrook.
“They believe strongly that their communities are worth fighting for, and their way of life is worth fighting for, but that Washington’s not paying attention. And in all honesty you can see it in the current farm bill debate,” said Hassebrook.
Nearly nine out of 10 people polled believed that the rural and small-town life is worth fighting for, and after failing to pass a new farm bill last year, the U.S. Senate and House have recently passed very different versions of a farm bill.
Hassebrook explained the poll makes an important statement about the values of rural America.
“We surveyed 800 people across close to 20 states,” he said. “It’s a good-sized sample and important findings that inform the entire nation about what rural people have to say about what’s important for their communities.”
The poll also noted other findings, such as three-fourths of those polled agree that too much of federal farm subsidies go to the largest farms, which hurts smaller family farms. Three-fourths support tax credits and investment in new transmission lines for development of wind, solar and other renewable electric generation in rural areas. Finally, about 80 percent support grants and loans that aim at revitalizing small towns through upgrades to water and sewer systems, as well as investments in roads and bridges.