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Young Farmers Secure Big Gains in the Final Farm Bill Deal
Conference Report includes top priorities on land, credit, and training access
WASHINGTON, DC (December 10, 2018) – The National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) celebrated the release of the final farm bill agreement as House and Senate leadership prepared for its swift passage. The Conference Report, which promises to end the months-long period of uncertainty following the 2014 Farm Bill’s expiration, includes significant portions of NYFC’s comprehensive policy platform, the Young Farmer Agenda, including: increased and permanent funding to train and assist beginning, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers; investments and reforms to preserve farmland for the next generation; and expansion of local and regional markets critical to new producers.
“Good policy is no accident. The wins in this final deal are the result of young farmers who organized and spoke up. Today’s progress is the product of a deliberate, multi-year campaign to get lawmakers to listen to the next farm generation,” said Lindsey Lusher Shute, NYFC’s co-founder and executive director. “Credit goes to every young farmer who spoke up for his or her livelihood for the first time; every young farmer who hosted an elected official on their farm; every young farmer who boarded a bus, drove or flew thousands of miles to meet their Member of Congress in DC; and to every lawmaker who listened, and took action.”
“This bill is a compromise.” Shute said, “No stakeholders, including NYFC, are walking away with everything they want. No one is under the illusion that this bill will fundamentally repair the farm economy or reverse climate change. There is still much work to do, but the deal on the table represents progress. The farm bill will make permanent investments in programs critical to young farmers, improve land access for the next generation of stewards, and create on-ramps for new growers into existing USDA programs. Because of this bill, more young farmers across the country will be able to secure their first farm loan, buy their first parcel of land, and start their first business. We thank leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, and every legislator who gave young farmers a seat at the table and fought for this progress.”
In November, NYFC concluded its multi-year campaign by flying more than 130 young farmer leaders to Washington, DC, as Congress returned from its post-election “lame duck session,” to demand passage of the farm bill by year’s end.