Ag + Infrastructure: Keeping it Trillion

Aug 13, 2021

One trillion dollars has twelve zeros and four commas, and we can’t really wrap our heads around that much money. But it’s how much the Senate advanced on Tuesday in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a bill that’s gotten praise from ag groups.

What’s in it for ag: Groups like the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and the Agricultural Retailers Association are here for the bill, saying it’s a step in the right direction for rural America.

The bill includes $17.3B for the nation’s ports and inland waterways. Since 60% of corn exports use those waterways, NCGA is particularly happy with those funds.

And there’s $65B in the bill for broadband internet access – $2B specifically for rural broadband. Internet access for farmers is a key action step for rural America and agriculture groups across the country since 29% of farmers don’t have access to internet service.

“Extending digital access to rural America is just as important as paved roads and solid bridges,” Zippy Duvall, president of AFBF, said.

Bipartisan bill: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is pleased with the bipartisan support the bill has received so far, pointing out there were 19 Republicans and 50 Democrats in the Senate who supported it.

Vilsack says it’s “pretty hard to say no to a bill like this” that includes jobs, an impact on education, improved access to rural healthcare, maintained competitiveness in agriculture, and clean drinking water.

What’s next: Next to vote is the House of Representatives, where sources say the bill’s fate isn’t as certain. Ag groups like AFBF hope House leaders leave tax rates and stepped-up basis alone. If the House makes tweaks, it’ll go back to the Senate.