Chastain Provides Testimony in Washington, D.C., on Behalf of Electric Co-ops Nationwide
Monday, March 27, 2017
Posted by: Terri Statham
(TUCKER, GA. March 27)–At the request of NRECA, Georgia EMC President/CEO Dennis Chastain recently testified before the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit.
The subcommittee held the hearing to review rural development and energy programs within the 2014 Farm Bill. In his testimony, Chastain highlighted the value of the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) program and other programs offered by USDA Rural Development, which provides essential assistance to rural America.
The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorizes and/or amends rural development loan and grant programs and authorizes several new provisions, including rural infrastructure, economic development, and broadband and telecommunications development.1
“The Farm Bill is essential for electric cooperatives, for Georgia, and for the nation,” Chastain told the House panel. “Co-ops have been supporting rural America for almost 80 years, and in many ways that job is more important now than it ever has been.”
Chastain went on to say that rural areas still grow most of the food, generate most of the power and manufacture most of the goods the country consumes. “When rural areas suffer, electric cooperatives suffer and, more importantly, the country as a whole suffers,” he noted.
His testimony will help lay essential groundwork before the subcommittee begins crafting the 2018 Farm Bill to improve on current initiatives and grow more opportunities for rural communities across the country.
“Unfortunately, whether it’s infrastructure or jobs or access to health care, it seems too often rural America gets the short end of the stick,” Chastain said. “The Farm Bill is important legislation that helps to address some of those disparities.”
The opportunity to represent electric co-ops across the country was particularly meaningful to Chastain and co-ops in Georgia as the subcommittee is chaired by Georgia’s 8th District U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, and the ranking member is Georgia’s 13th District U.S. Rep. David Scott. To view members of the subcommittee, click here.
1Congressional Research Service