On February 22, 2013 USDA Rural Development submitted a Report on the Definition of “Rural” to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. The report makes recommendations only for Rural Development programs that are authorized in the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act – that is, the Rural Business, Rural Utilities, and Community Facilities programs. The report recommends defining “rural areas” for those programs as places with less than 50,000 population. In other words, those places would be eligible for the non-housing Rural Development programs. The report suggests that RD could use a number of factors such as population density and economic conditions to target funding to the most rural places and the places with the greatest need.
The report does not address the rural housing programs, nor the changes to rural housing program eligibility scheduled for March 28, 2013.
The Chair and Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee issued a joint statement expressing concern that implementation of the report’s recommendations would shift resources away from the most rural areas.
Posted: February 26, 2013
Updated: February 28, 2013