News from the West

The end of summer brought both bounty and hardship to Western farmers and ranchers. From hurricanes to fire, flood to drought, many have struggled with serious impacts to both their operations and their communities. But as farmers do, you are rebuilding, pitching in, and standing together. Times like these remind us how important it is to strengthen our communities and build a common voice for resilient agriculture. NYFC’s Western team has been... Read More

12 farmers, 44 meetings, 1 day

In the first week of June, with the 2018 farm bill already in motion, twelve young farmers flew to D.C. to tell Congress we need a farm bill that invests in our future. They discussed land access, student loans, health care and more. We held 44 meetings in one day and left D.C. feeling confident that young farmer interests will be included in the next farm bill. June is one of the hardest times of the year to leave the farm, and we’re so... Read More

Young Farmer Success Act Reintroduced in Congress

A bipartisan group of U.S. Representatives took action to address our urgent national need for more young farmers by reintroducing the Young Farmer Success Act (H.R. 1060).   The National Young Farmers Coalition first worked with members of Congress in 2015 to tackle one of the greatest barriers to young farmer success: student loan debt. The Young Farmer Success Act was introduced in October 2015 and today, that bill was reintroduced with key... Read More

My first year farming: the highs, the lows, and the future

By Hannah Becker, Willow Springs Farm Preparing for this final Bootstrap Blogger post, I went back through my earlier posts and was immediately reminded of just how far we’ve come in a matter of months. The first few posts were all about digging fence postholes and scrounging for cash, and now we’re on to funny piglet stories and taking orders for grass-fed beef. When you’re down in the “day to day trenches,” it’s easy to get lost in... Read More

More Old McDonald than Superman? A Day in my life

By Hannah Becker, Willow Springs Farm A Day in My Life I get up early—6 a.m.— and go for a quick run. I also print off lecture handouts and skim Wall Street Journal over breakfast (the digital version—it takes days to get the printed version delivered out here). Then I don a suit (but don’t bother with makeup) and pack my satchel with the days’ necessities. My university classes start at 8 a.m. As a student, I wasn’t all that fond of... Read More

Funding our farm: loans, grants, and a gamble

By Caitlin Arnold, Furrow Horse Farm  When Brandon and I decided to start Furrow Horse Farm last January, we knew we were about to spend a lot of money. We were moving onto leased land that had no infrastructure, and we needed to build hoop houses and put up a deer fence. Since we had both been working for other farmers in the years after graduating from college, we didn’t have very much money saved, nor did we have inheritances or farmland... Read More

Our big goal: Giving back to veterans

By Hannah Becker, Willow Springs Farm It’s that time of year— a new year, new goals. For many entrepreneurs, the end of one year and the beginning of the next is a time to reflect and clarify goals. What have we accomplished? Where are we headed? What’s the best way to get there? A quick recap of 2015 Willow Springs Farm has developed from a 24-page business plan to an actual farm. This time last year, I recall telling my husband that, “if... Read More

Farmer testifies to Congress about student loan debt

On Monday, farmer Emily Best was invited to testify at a Congressional hearing about the impact her student loan debt has on her ability to farm. As almost one million student borrowers prepare to receive their first student loan bills in November, United States Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), chair of the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) held a forum with college graduates and experts to discuss college... Read More

VIDEO: Clif Bar calls for more young farmers

Three generations of the Sahatjian family. The Sahatjians have been growing raisins in Madera, California for nearly 90 years and across four generations. But their story of farm succession is increasingly rare. Today we’re announcing a new partnership with Clif Bar & Company, one of the nation’s leading organic food makers, to raise awareness of the U.S. farmer shortage and highlight the importance young farmers play in driving innovation. To... Read More

New NYFC report finds student loan debt is exacerbating farmer shortage

Today NYFC released a new report, Farming Is Public Service: A Case for Adding Farmers to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which shows that student loan debt is one of the key barriers preventing more would-be farmers and ranchers from entering agriculture. Read the full report here.  The report contains data from a new survey of more than 700 young farmers as well as data compiled from the USDA Census of Agriculture. Highlights... Read More

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