After celebrating the inclusion of young farmer priorities in the House agriculture appropriations bill in July, the National Young Farmers Coalition is disappointed to see that the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee’s bill, released this week, allocates very little funding to programs important to young farmers and ranchers.
While the bill received full Committee approval, it still has to pass on the Senate floor. The differences between the House and Senate bills will then be reconciled between the two chambers, where final funding levels are agreed upon. So even though the Senate fell short, it’s not too late to let Congress know where you stand.
Keep reading to see how the Senate allocated funding for each of our 2018 Farm Bill priorities.
The Senate appropriations bill includes:
- $3 million dollars for the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN), to fund mental health services for farmers;
- $3 million for the 2501 program, which provides critical outreach and assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers;
- $25 million in support of the relocation of the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Economic Research Service (ERS), which would delay vital research and beginning farmer programs.
The bill does not include:
- Any additional funding to the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) or the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP).
- Any funding for many key young farmer programs without any funding in the 2018 Farm Bill including the creation of the Office of Urban Agriculture, heirs property provisions, and reports on land access and farm land ownership data collection.
As the House and Senate go to conference over the next few weeks, we must continue to demand full funding for key young farmer priorities. The Senate bill may have passed the full Appropriations Committee, but that does not mean their bill is final. The House still has to agree, which invested over $60 million into young farmer programs.
Young Farmers supports funding the following programs at levels included in the House appropriations bill:
- Beginning farmer training and outreach to socially disadvantaged farmers at $10 million in discretionary funding.
- Loan fund to help resolve heirs’ property issues at $5 million.
- Research on farmland ownership and transition at $1 million.
- Farmer mental health services at $5 million.
- Local food programming at $23.4 million in discretionary funding.
- Office of Urban Agriculture at $5 million.
It is now more important than ever to take action and make your voice heard! We still have a chance to fund young farmer wins from the farm bill in the final appropriations bill. Ask your Senators and Representatives to prioritize young farmer programs in conference committee.