"We will work to build a stronger rural and agricultural economy. Democrats will increase funding to support the next generation of farmers and ranchers, with particular attention given to promoting environmentally sustainable agricultural practices. We will encourage programs to protect and enhance family farms, a cherished way of life for millions of Americans."
-Democratic Party Platform
Throughout our country's history, Democrats have been a strong and united voice for rural Americans, recognizing the important bond between our nation’s heritage and its future.
From the Rural Electrification Act to the Recovery Act, Democrats have worked to foster economic development, increase scientific and energy innovation, and connect rural communities by closing the digital divide. As we work to get our economy back on track, Democrats continue to fight on behalf of family farmers, small businesses, and all rural families to ensure a bright and successful future for rural America.
Democrats understand that our country is not divided between urban and rural populations and that the priorities of rural communities are no different than their urban counterparts. That’s why we are committed to ensuring economic opportunity for family farmers, supporting rural economic development, and promoting rural America’s leadership in developing renewable energy — all with the goal of improving rural quality of life and economic competitiveness.
Thanks to increased funding through the Affordable Care Act, community health centers across the country have been able to double the number of patients they serve. The ACA also expanded tele-health options for rural patients and tripled the number of National Health Service Corps clinicians working in underserved and rural communities.
Democrats believe that farm programs should be designed to provide family farms with stability and consistency, protecting farmers from weather disasters and market disruptions and making sure that commodity payments are issued only to those farmers who need it most. We support programs that encourage microentrepreneur assistance, rural cooperative development grants, value-added producer grants, grants to minority producers, and cooperative research agreements.
We understand the importance of closing the digital divide, empowering rural Americans with the modern technology needed to improve business and educational opportunities. We must continue to invest in rural teachers and then reward those individuals appropriately and provide them with the resources needed to enhance student achievement.
Educational opportunities in rural areas must extend to higher education as well. Community colleges often serve as fixtures in rural areas, and Democrats will continue working to equip our next generation with the skills and education for future success by increasing access and affordability to institutions of higher learning.
Rural farmers have been an integral force in the development of renewable fuel sources. These efforts reflect a national goal to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil with domestic energy sources, supported by Democratic efforts to provide additional loans and grants to further this development.