Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act

Invest in the Future of American Agriculture, Now.

The Future of American Agriculture is at stake.

Many young agrarians are faced with an unfortunate obstacle: they simply cannot break through Big Ag barriers like limited access to land and markets. Faced with hyperinflation in land prices, high input costs, farm and tax policy disadvantages, and lack of training, many would-be producers are discouraged from entering a career in agriculture.  And that’s bad news, because the average age of farmers in the US stands at 57 and the fastest growing group of farm operators are those 65 years and older.

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act needs your attention. As spring approaches, the seeds of change are being sown throughout the country in support of a national strategy committed to backing beginning farmer and ranchers entering agriculture.

Here are the basics:

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act will invest in the next generation of American producers by:

Enabling access to land, credit, and crop insurance for new producers. 

• Assisting new producers to launch and strengthen new farm and value-added businesses.

• Helping new producers become good land stewards.

• Providing training, mentoring, and research that beginning farmers and ranchers need to be successful. 

• Conducting outreach on agricultural job opportunities for military veterans.

 

Why You Should Care:

• The future of family farming and ranching in America – and the viability of our nation’s food supply – depends upon removing existing obstacles to entry into farming so that more people can start to farm.  

• This bill encompasses a national strategy for addressing those barriers, focusing on the issues that consistently rank as the greatest challenges for beginning producers. 

• This bill makes an important investment in the next generation of farmers and ranchers at a cost of just a fraction of one percent of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s budget.

The Act is a bipartisan and bicameral bill introduced in the House by Representatives Tim Walz (D-MN-1) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE-1), and in the Senate by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), along with nine original co-sponsors.

View the full Bill Summary:

http://sustainableagriculture.net/our-work/beginning-farmer-bill/bill-summary/

For more on the 2012 Farm Bill:

http://grist.org/farm-bill/2011-12-14-whippersnappers-young-farmers-work-to-change-the-2012-farm-bill/

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  1. [...] Q: What do you think about the bright spots in the bill: the Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Act and  The Beginning Farmers Act? [...]

  2. [...] Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) would restore funding for young farmer programs, much to the appreciation of the National Young Farmers’ Coalition which has been advocating for a similar measure. Philip Bump writes about the news for [...]



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