This week the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the spending measure that would fund the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and related programs for Fiscal Year 2020. 

The bill includes $3.1 billion for rural development programs including various loan programs to help fund water and electric infrastructure projects, rental assistance programs, and Distance Learning/Telemedicine grant programs.  The bill also includes $835.2 million in funds for conservation programs for farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners.  In addition, the spending measure is notable for excluding several proposals from President Trump’s budget request that would dramatically cut several federal programs benefitting rural areas.