House farm bill makes key land access investments, but misses big opportunities

NYFC policy staff continues to dig into the House farm bill, H.R. 2. Read our previous posts on the overall analysis of the bill, as well as its potential impact for young farmers in the West. Across the country, climbing land prices have made it increasingly difficult for farmers to afford land. The challenge of land access for young farmers is so widespread and acute, in fact, that NYFC has an entire team dedicated to it. The farm bill, reauthorized by Congress every five years, can help, or hinder, young farmers’ ability to access land. On Wednesday, the House Agriculture Committee voted its draft of the 2018 farm bill, H.R. 2, out of Committee on a strictly party-line vote. As the bill heads to debate before the full House, NYFC’s land access team breaks down what its impact might be on farmland access for young farmers. Here are our main takeaways: The bill increases funding to protect farmland from development through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), an important gain in keeping land available for farmers. However, the reforms do not include prioritization for projects that ensure the long-term affordability of conserved farmland, which we believe is critical when it comes to serving the needs[...]Read More