The Senate recently agreed to an amendment (S.AMDT.2242) to the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012, the Farm Bill (S. 3240) to amend Section 520 of the Housing Act of 1949 to revise the census data and population requirements for areas to be considered as rural. Due to the 2010 census, many communities are losing eligibility for rural housing programs due to population growth; Congress originally set the definition of rural in 1974 and it has not been changed or updates since. The amendment, introduced by Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Mike Johanns (R-NE) will grandfather communities currently eligible for rural housing programs, and increase the population threshold for those communities to 35,000. The Senate passed the Farm bill on June 22, 2012; the House is expected to mark up their version of the bill this summer.

Click here to read S. 3240.
Click here to view amendments considered.