Farm bill delayed
Last week, negotiations came to a screeching halt as farm bill politics reached a boiling point. Despite House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway’s self-imposed deadline for farm bill action this month, it appears that Members of Congress will head home for the two-week Easter Recess without releasing a draft of the bill, nor any action on it.
What does this mean for young farmers? First, it’s a significant blow to the prospect that Congress passes a farm bill this year. If negotiations remain at an impasse and a new farm bill is not signed by the President before the September 30th deadline, a number of key programs will be eliminated, including the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. On the other hand, the delay gives us more time to build support for young farmer priorities in the farm bill.
As Congress heads home for recess next week, they need to hear two things from us:
1) We need a farm bill in 2018!
2) Make it a farm bill for the future by supporting young farmers
CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE: Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202)-224-3121 and press 2 for the House of Representatives.
Federal legislation on farmer mental health introduced in House, following Washington State’s lead
Young farmers and NYFC are helping to drive a national conversation about farmer mental health—an issue that impacts farmers of all ages—and our elected officials are listening.
Last week, after months of testimony, organizing, and advocacy from a broad coalition of farmers and supporters, including members of the Washington Young Farmers Coalition (WAYFC), Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law a bill to address farmer and farmworker mental health across Washington state.
That same week, in Washington, D.C., NYFC supported a bipartisan group of U.S. House Members as they introduced the STRESS Act (H.R. 5259), a bill that would create a national network to provide stress assistance resources to farmers who need them. NYFC will work to ensure provisions of the STRESS Act are included in the next farm bill. Read NYFC’s statement on the bill here.
GROW Act introduced in Senate
A bipartisan group of Senators introduced the GROW Act (S. 2557) to strengthen and reform federal conservation programs, including increasing beginning farmer access.
In addition to maintaining funding for EQIP and CSP, two programs targeted for cuts in this farm bill, the bill would also triple set-asides in EQIP and CSP for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers to 15%, streamline EQIP advance payments to beginning farmers, reform CRP to ensure beginning farmers can access productive farmland, and direct the USDA to issue a report on the barriers to land access, transition, and tenure for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers. It was introduced by Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Robert Casey (D-PA).