Last week, the House Appropriations Committee released their draft of the Fiscal Year 2021 agriculture spending bill. The National Young Farmers Coalition is pleased to see the inclusion of many young farmer priorities in the bill. On Thursday, July 9th, the bill passed, allocating further funding to programs important to young farmers and ranchers.
In particular, we are pleased that report language highlighted the importance of the Tenure, Ownership, and Transition of Agricultural Land (TOTAL) Survey. Land access is a perennial issue for young farmers, and this funding was included in the 2018 Farm Bill to make permanent a survey that helps clarify land ownership trends. Importantly, it would also gather information about the extent of heirs property issues. Although dedicated funding was, unfortunately, not included for the $3 million authorized in the farm bill, this language recognizes the importance of this data and the need for preliminary work on the TOTAL Survey to move forward.
Of the National Young Farmers Coalition’s priorities, the House appropriations bill includes:
- $20 million for the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP), to be split between the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) receiving $8 million, and the Value Added Producer Grant Program (VAPG) receiving $12 million
- $5 million funding for Farming Opportunity Training and Outreach (FOTO) Program, to be split evenly between the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) and 2501 Program, which provides critical outreach and assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers
- $7 million for the Office of Urban Agriculture
- $10 million funding for the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) to fund mental health services for farmers
- Report language to support the Tenure, Ownership, and Transition of Agricultural Land (TOTAL) Survey to support research on farmland ownership and transition
- $18 million for the National Organic Program. To keep up with the burgeoning demand for organics, we ask that Congress fully fund the NOP at $20 million for FY21.
- $833 million for Conservation Programs. To ensure that our nation’s farmers and ranchers are adequately assisted in stewarding natural resources and combating climate change, we ask that Congress fund Conservation Operations at $840 million for FY21.
The Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee will release its bill in the upcoming weeks. The Coalition urges members of the Committee to fund data collection on land access and other programs important to young farmers and ranchers. See our full FY 2021 appropriation priorities here.