Farm bill awaiting Trump's signature would benefit county

December 15, 2018

A provision that would make Cheshire County eligible for special economic development grants is headed to the president’s desk, as part of a farm bill that cleared Congress this week.

The $867 billion bill passed by a 386-47 vote in the U.S. House Wednesday after winning favor in the Senate, 87-13, the previous day.

If President Donald Trump signs the bill into law, Cheshire County will officially become part of the Northern Border Regional Commission, a state-federal partnership that awards grants for economic and community development projects in New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and New York. The commission focuses on areas with high poverty, unemployment, or out-migration rates, or that recently experienced these trends, according to its website. The president is expected to sign the bill into law.

Last year, the commission awarded nearly $2.3 million to New Hampshire towns and organizations in areas already covered by the commission: Carroll, Coos, Grafton and Sullivan counties.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Rep. Ann M. Kuster, both New Hampshire Democrats, worked to add Cheshire and Belknap counties to the commission, according to a news release from Shaheen’s office.

Speaking favorably on the prospect of Cheshire County’s inclusion in the commission, Tim Murphy, executive director of the Southwest Region Planning Commission, told The Sentinel in April that the county struggles with stagnant job growth, a shrinking workforce and a decline in school enrollment, pointing to a future downward shift in the local economy.

The county, he said then, could benefit from economic development projects such as broadband services and infrastructure improvement, as well as workforce development.

By:  Liora Engel-Smith
Source: Keene Sentinel