Author

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Owen Hart

Associate Legislative Director - Agriculture & Rural Affairs
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Rachel Mackey

Legislative Director – Human Services & Education | Veterans & Military Services
Zeke Lee

Zeke Lee

Legislative Director – Public Lands | Western Interstate Region
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Joe Jackson

Legislative Assistant

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As the governing authority over the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Farm Bill is critical for counties who are responsible for delivering and administering vital services to many of our nation’s vulnerable families. The $1.5 trillion legislative package authorizes a suite of programs that help counties make critical investments in infrastructure, economic development, workforce training, nutrition and conservation within some of our nation's most underserved communities.

After months of negotiations, lawmakers on the House Committee on Agriculture advanced their version of the 2024 Farm Bill, dubbed the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024 (H.R. 8467), after a committee markup on May 23. The bipartisan legislative package passed 31-22 with full support from committee Republicans and four Democratic votes.

Thanks to NACo's advocacy efforts, the Farm, Food, and National Security Act includes key wins for county governments, including increased funding for rural development programs, certain improvements to federal nutrition programs, more robust support for new and beginning farmers, the expansion of key land management authorities to county governments and a three-year reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program.

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Nathan Boyd describes the dramatic reduction in herbicide use, and the number of computers the humidity had fried, when the University of Florida applied machine learning to herbicide application. Photo by Charlie Ban
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Artificial intelligence teases agricultural “revolution”

A University of Florida researcher sees great potential for artificial intellligence to help overcome agriculture's labor shortage.

Harrison Pittman, director of the National Agricultural Law Center, describes the cycles of sensitivity to foreign ownership of U.S. agricultural land. Photo by Denny Henry
County News

Most foreign-owned ag land remains in friendly hands

Despite cycles of concern about foreign ownership, less than 4% of U.S. private agricultural land is owned by foreign entities, and only 12 states have enacted laws limiting foreign ownership.

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National Association of Counties launches economic mobility program for rural counties

The National Association of Counties (NACo) today announced the creation of Rural Leaders for Economic Mobility (RLEM), a national program with teams of 10 county elected officials and 10 non-elected county leaders to pursue effective strategies to improve economic mobility conditions that move individuals and families out of poverty.