President Champions Daines Priorities to Support Rural Economy

President Champions Daines Priorities to Support Rural Economy 

U.S. SENATE —U.S. Senator Steve Daines today applauded the United States Department of Agriculture’s release of the Agriculture (Ag) and Rural Prosperity Task Force report, which includes initiatives Daines championed to support Montana’s rural economy. 

“Montana farmers and ranchers put food on America’s tables” said Daines. “As the President highlighted today, our rural communities are vitally important to the success of our nation.  I will continue to fight for rural development, infrastructure, telehealth and other critical issues for rural Montana.

As Chairman of the Senate Western Caucus, Senator Daines has focused on initiatives to improve the rural economy, many of which were included in Secretary Perdue’s Ag and Rural Prosperity Task Force report.

Supporting a Rural Workforce

The Ag and Rural Prosperity Task Force report outlines the need for apprenticeship programs to fill vacancies, especially in rural healthcare and trade businesses.

Daines introduced bipartisan legislation to expand education savings plans to skilled workers to help cover training costs, including, tools, books and equipment.

Supporting Rural Connectivity:

The Ag and Rural Prosperity Task Force outlined priorities to deploy broadband, including strengthening telecommunications connectivity in rural and tribal communities. 

Daines has worked to connect rural Montana communities by:

  • Introducing bipartisan legislation to promote investment and cut red tape for companies, states and local governments who want to install broadband infrastructure on federal land.
  • Fighting for funding from agencies for rural, tribal and unserved areas to expand broadband connectivity.
  • Incentivizing companies to invest in broadband expansion through efforts like the High Tech Jobs Summit and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
  • Expanding telehealth opportunities by introducing the Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes (ECHO) Act.
  • Urging the importance of strengthening telemedicine in rural communities in letters to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Supporting Rural Economic Development

The Ag and Rural Prosperity Task Force report identifies the need to build rural economies through strengthening trade, natural resource development and the outdoor recreation economy. 

Daines has worked to level the playing field for Montana farmers and ranchers by:

  • Working to lift China’s ban on U.S. beef.
  • Facilitating a $300 million agreement between a Chinese e-commerce company and the Montana Stockgrowers Association to purchase Montana beef and invest in a meat processing facility in Montana.
  • Securing more than $100 billion in tax cuts for Main Street businesses, including farmers and ranchers.

Daines worked to spur natural resource development in rural communities by:

  • Urging the Trump Administration to free Rock Creek and Montanore Mine projects from bureaucracy and litigation.
  • Supporting locally-driven forest management projects to create more good-paying jobs.

Daines worked to make full use of public lands and grow the outdoor recreation economy by:

  • Responding to local calls to protect public use of public lands by requesting the release of 449,500 acres of Wilderness Study Areas (WSA) in Montana.
  • Introducing legislation that creates opportunities to open up more space for families and sportsmen to enjoy local wildlife.

Supporting Rural Infrastructure:

The Ag and Rural Prosperity Task Force outlined the need to strengthen water infrastructure.

Daines has worked to deliver reliable water to Montanans in rural communities by:

  • Securing important resources to build water-delivering infrastructure in the FY2018 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act.
  • Introducing bipartisan legislation to provide authorization for Montana rural water infrastructure projects.