Another year is upon us and NCBA CLUSA has been actively engaged in legislative affairs that are essential to the advancement of cooperatives throughout the country. A couple of key pieces of legislation that touch the lives of our members are the Rural Cooperative Development Grants (RCDG) and the Farm Bill.
Rural Cooperative Development Grants
NCBA CLUSA has been actively involved in the fiscal year 2014 appropriations process regarding funding for Rural Cooperative Development Grants (RCDG) for the fiscal year ending on September 30th of this year. NCBA CLUSA President & CEO Michael Beall drafted a letter to both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees asking that the committee increase RCDG funding by the same percentage levels as the recently passed budget agreement, which increased overall federal spending caps by approximately 5% and offset cuts made by last year’s sequester.
In the letters, Beall stated that, “We understand that in this current fiscal environment, federal funding is limited and Congress has to make tough spending choices. We believe adequately funding the RCDG account however is a small price that will yield a sound investment toward rural economic development and job growth for more Americans.” Click here for the full letter to the House and Senate.
April 10, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NCBA Concerned Over Consolidation Proposal of Rural Development Programs Outlined in President’s FY14 Budget
(WASHINGTON, DC) – In its initial review of the recently released President’s FY14 budget, the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) is seriously concerned with the elimination of the only program in the federal government solely focused on cooperative owned businesses.
“In the President’s budget that was released today, there is a proposal to consolidate a number of rural development programs including the Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program (RCDG). The RCDG program provides technical assistance for cooperative expansion and development,” said Mike Beall, president and CEO of NCBA. “I am concerned that consolidating the RCDG program with unrelated rural development programs will diminish the agency’s focus and mission of supporting the advancement of cooperatives. I look forward to discussing this concern with USDA and the White House to learn more on the consolidation proposal.”
Over the next few days, NCBA will host talks with leaders in all cooperative sectors to discuss the effect this outcome will have on cooperative development centers and cooperatives in rural America.
Hurricane Sandy brought devastation to communities throughout New York, New Jersey and other portions of the Northeast region. Once the storm was over and communities began planning to rebuild, it was realized that housing cooperatives were not eligible for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) disaster assistance program.
NCBA CLUSA has joined groups, including the National Association of Housing Cooperatives, Coordinating Council of Cooperatives, Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums, and the Federation of New York Housing Cooperatives & Condominiums to support legislation for housing cooperatives to receive much needed FEMA disaster assistance.
Bill Would Alter FEMA Policy to Assist Co-ops and Condos | The New York Times
NCBA Echoes Congressional Concern on USDA Consolidation Proposal
(WASHINGTON, DC) – The National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) echoes the concerns voiced on April 24 by a number of bipartisan committee members in a budget hearing with the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, regarding USDA Rural Development’s “sweeping” proposal to consolidate agency programs including the Rural Cooperative Development Grant program through the Congressional appropriation process.
“NCBA is very concerned that USDA has overlooked the importance of rural cooperative development in its budget and is pleased that Rural Development officials faced many questions from members of Congress, including Chairman Robert Aderholt, about the Administration’s plan to simply merge funding of many crucial activities together without a clear strategy,” said Michael Beall, president of NCBA in a statement. “This plan removes the one funding mechanism for rural cooperative development, and we call on the Administration to rethink this important priority.”
On April 25, NCBA sent a letter to Chairman Robert Aderholt and Ranking Member Sam Farr expressing their deep concern on this matter.
In his opening statement of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies on April 24, subcommittee chairman Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-AL) said, “As noted in the testimony, USDA is the sole federal department charged with serving the needs of Americans who live in the rural parts of this nation… As the only federal department dedicated to rural America, I have to wonder if this budget request is truly in tune with its needs, especially the needs of rural Americans with the lowest incomes.”
In an earlier statement, NCBA expressed concern that the proposed consolidation of a number of unrelated rural development programs will diminish USDA’s focus and mission of supporting the advancement of cooperatives.
Contact: John Torres