RURAL AMERICA HAS BEEN LEFT BEHIND: President Donald J. Trump has charged the Rural Prosperity Task Force with examining the challenges facing rural America.
- Rural employment has grown slower than employment in urban areas, and was the slowest to recover from the recession.
- Many Americans living in rural communities continue to face barriers that prevent them from attaining the quality of life they deserve.
- Poverty rates are disproportionately high in many rural communities.
- Access to adequate transportation is a hindrance to many rural Americans.
- Insufficient access to medical care means health problems can be exceptionally hard to overcome for Americans living in rural areas.
- Too many rural Americans do not have necessary broadband access needed to engage in the modern economy.
- According to the Federal Communications Commission, 39 percent of rural Americans, or 23 million people, lack sufficient broadband access.
- Insufficient broadband networks in rural areas leave many Americans without access to services such as telemedicine and long distance learning.
- High costs of deployment have kept commercial internet providers from installing equipment in rural areas.
BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS TO RURAL PROSPERITY: President Trump's Rural Prosperity Task Force has proposed recommendations to help rural America grow and thrive.
- President Trump established the Rural Prosperity Task Force on April 25, 2017, to identify legislative, regulatory, and policy changes needed to help secure a prosperous future for rural America.
- The Task Force is chaired by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and includes local leaders and representatives from 22 Federal departments and agencies.
- The Task Force identified more than 100 actions centering on five key areas that can help achieve a better future for rural America.
- Connectivity for rural America: Electronic connectivity is essential for rural communities to succeed. To ensure rural American can compete, the report recommends:
- assessing the current state and effectiveness of rural connectivity and supporting programs;
- establishing a leadership team among the White House and various departments to ensure better access to electronic connectivity; and
- cutting red tape to encourage investment in high-speed internet.
- Quality of Life Improvement: In order to achieve prosperity, rural Americans must have a high quality of life. To improve quality of life, the report recommends:
- targeting rural areas for transportation investment using current programs;
- establishing public-private partnerships to help rural Americans complete an education; and
- expediting infrastructure and technology investment in electric and water utilities for rural communities.
- Support for a Rural Workforce: Every rural community needs job opportunities for its residents and rural businesses need qualified workers. To increase the availability of qualified workers, the report recommends:
- expanding apprenticeship programs, particularly in healthcare and trade industries;
- centralizing access to Federal job training programs and encouraging agencies to partner with the Department of Agriculture to host programs at local offices; and
- improving the H-2A program through new policies and regulatory changes.
- Harnessing Technological Innovation: Continued American leadership in agricultural production and productivity will require leveraging emerging technologies across American farmlands. To promote innovation, the report recommends:
- developing best practices to better leverage big data collection and analysis for agricultural applications;
- expediting FAA regulatory waiver approvals for low-altitude unmanned aircraft system flights in rural environments; and
- modernizing and streamlining a science-based regulatory policy to expedite the commercialization of safe biotechnology products.
- Rural Economic Development: By empowering rural economies, we empower America's economy. To develop rural economies, the report recommends:
- creating an online Rural Prosperity Portal to help facilitate investment in rural communities;
- removing regulatory barriers to develop and access natural resources in rural areas; and
- increasing access to capital in rural communities by identifying projects for private investment.
REBUILDING RURAL AMERICA: President Trump's Administration will build on existing projects and efforts to support rural America.
- On November 6, 2017, the Department of Agriculture announced it will invest more than $200 million to help bring broadband to rural communities.
- President Trump's Department of Agriculture has announced it will invest $2.5 billion in electric infrastructure improvements in rural areas.
- In fiscal year 2017, the Department of Agriculture provided more than $1 billion to help improve access to health care for rural Americans.
- This $1 billion helped 2.5 million Americans living in rural communities in 41 States.
- The Department of Agriculture invested more than $40 million to improve infrastructure in rural America in fiscal year 2017.
- President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law, which will provide needed tax cuts to America's farmers.
- Most farms are organized as pass-through businesses, which will benefit from both lower tax rates across the board and a 20 percent deduction in their taxable income.
- The vast majority of family farms will be exempt from the estate tax.
- Farmers will be able expense 100 percent of their capital investments, such as equipment, over the next four years.
White House • whitehouse.gov/the-press-office