RELEASE: National Young Farmers Coalition Urges Congress to Vote on the Reconciliation Package


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:​ Lytisha Wyatt, National Young Farmers Coalition
press@youngfarmers.org


Washington, D.C.
(November 2nd, 2021) – Last week, Congress shared language from the proposed budget reconciliation bill, which, if passed, would provide novel investments for young farmers to serve on the frontlines of climate action, address long-standing inequities in our food system, and help farmers and ranchers increase their access to climate-resilient practices, enabling them to play a central role in our national response to the climate crisis. In response to President Biden’s announcement of the Build Back Better Framework and the proposed budget reconciliation, the National Young Farmers Coalition (Young Farmers) leadership issued the following statement:

“We are pleased to see debt relief for economically distressed borrowers included in the Build Back Better Act. Our farmers need relief now and we thank Congress for their work to champion this funding in the pared down BBB,” said Sophie Ackoff, Co-Executive Director of the National Young Farmers Coalition. 

“Land access challenges are preventing a new generation from taking on the important task of growing food for our country. Importantly, $200 million is included in the BBB to help with land ownership challenges, such as heirs’ property, fractionated land, and supporting young farmers in accessing land. We look forward to working with USDA on creative ways to use this investment to secure affordable, equitable access to land for a next generation of farmers,” said Holly Rippon-Butler, Young Farmers’ Land Campaign Director.

“The Build Back Better Act includes once-in-a-generation investments in conservation programs, positioning farmers and climate-smart agriculture practices as key strategies to mitigate climate change and build resiliency. Investments in conservation and climate resilience such as EQIP, as well as investments in programs beyond the farm gate like affordable college, immigration, and farmworker health and safety are essential to the functioning of our agriculture system. We applaud the inclusion of $200 million for farm workers and food worker relief,” said Vanessa Garcia Polanco, Federal Policy Director of Young Farmers. 

Young Farmers encourages Members of Congress to pass the bill immediately with agricultural spending intact to ensure farmers, ranchers, and food systems stakeholders are best equipped to act on climate and protect the integrity of our food systems and farming communities. 

This is how Young Farmers’ Federal Policy Priorities are represented in the package: 

Racial Equity

  • $10 million to establish the USDA Equity Commission 

Land and Climate

  • $3.85 billion for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), which includes “climate bundles” (this is the estimated level of funding after sequestration)
  • $9 billion for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) 
  • $7.15 billion for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) (this is the estimated level of funding after sequestration)
  • $120 million for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program
  • $60 million for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) 
  • $210 million for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) 
  • $200 million for Land Loss Assistance – including heirs property, fractionated land issues, and more

USDA Access to Programs 

  • $200 million to support outreach and technical assistance for underserved, beginning, and limited resource producers
  • FSA direct loan debt relief for economically distressed borrowers, $1.02 billion for modifications and payments for at-risk producers, and up to $150,000 in FSA direct loan repayment for other borrowers who don’t qualify as economically distressed

Immigration and Labor

  • $100 billion investment to reform our broken immigration system, as well as reducing backlogs, expanding legal representation, and making the asylum system and border processing more efficient and humane
  • $70 million provided over a five-year period through September 30, 2026 for Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker programs
  • $200 million in additional funds for the Agricultural Marketing Service’s Farmworker and Food Worker Relief Grant Program for assistance to frontline grocery workers

Student Loans, Affordable College, and Economic Justice

  • Hundreds of millions of dollars to support BIPOC-serving institutions and community colleges (including 1890s, 1994s, and more) 
  • A $550 increase to the maximum Pell Grant, which will make it easier for millions of students to cover all the costs associated with getting a degree
  • $4.28 billion provided to DOL over a five-year period through September 30, 2026 for employment and training activities in industry sectors or occupations related to climate resilience or mitigation

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The National Young Farmers Coalition (Young Farmers) is a national grassroots network of young farmers fighting for a brighter, more equitable future for U.S. agriculture. Visit Young Farmers on the web at www.youngfarmers.org, and on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

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