Trump budget proposal makes cuts to farm programs and zeroes out Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
Last week, President Trump released his budget proposal for 2019. Like his budget last year, it makes dramatic cuts to USDA programs and takes direct aim at many programs important to young farmers, including the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA), Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), and key Rural Development programs (to say nothing of the cuts and reforms made to nutrition assistance programs). It would also eliminate the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program—the foundation of our student loan campaign.
Help us build support for beginning farmer bills in Congress
With election season and a September 30th deadline looming, the window for Congress to write, pass, and enact a new farm bill is getting tight. Both Agriculture Committee Chairmen have indicated they’d like to complete their farm bill work by the Easter Recess.
The best thing we can do while we await Congressional action is to continue building support for the two beginning farmer bills in the House: the Young and Beginning Farmers Act (H.R. 4201) and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act (H.R. 4316). Both of these bills address top challenges for young farmers by expanding access to affordable farmland, improving outreach and delivery of federal programs to new farmers, and increasing federal investments in training, business development, and local markets.
TAKE ACTION: Call (202)-224-3121 and press 2 for the House of Representatives. When you’re connected, introduce yourself and ask that your representative sponsor H.R. 4201 and H.R. 4316. Tell them why you care! Email Andrew or Sophie with any questions.
Washington State farmer mental health bill passes in House, moves to Senate with young farmer support
A 2016 Center for Disease Control Study found that workers in the agriculture industry have the highest rates of suicide of any occupation in the United States. Washington State is now addressing farmer mental health through new legislation, and NYFC’s local chapter, the Washington Young Farmers Coalition, is speaking out.
“We never used the words ‘mental health’ or talked openly of suicide until this past spring, when one of our own co-founders and friend, Justin McClane, took his own life on his farm in Lewis County.”
—Tierney Creech, farmer, WAYFC co-founder, NYFC board member
This month, Washington State House Bill (H.B.) 2671 unanimously passed in the House and is now on to the Senate. The bill would establish a task force to study the factors that lead to high rates of suicide and substance abuse, and then establish free resources aimed at increasing mental health support services and suicide prevention outreach for workers in the agricultural industry. The bill is sponsored by Representative J.T. Wilcox (R-Yelm).
NYFC board member and co-founder of the Washington Young Farmers Coalition, Tierney Creech, provided moving testimony at a House Health Care & Wellness Committee hearing. You can watch her testimony here.
Are you in Washington and want to make sure this bill is passed? Call your legislators today and tell them to support HB2671.
Colorado farmers keep pressure on State Senate to support farm internships
The bill would support training opportunities for young and beginning farmers and ranchers in Colorado by providing incentives to agricultural businesses to hire interns.
“If we want to ensure the survival of our farms and ranches in Colorado, it is up to us to develop programs that will train and educate our next generation of agriculturists.”
—Tyler Hoyt, farmer and board member of the Four Corners Farmers and Ranchers Coalition, in a Durango Herald op-ed
Last week, NYFC farmers from across Colorado gathered at the state capitol to meet with their legislators and build support for the new bill. Stay tuned as the bill moves forward!