Many of you took action last week to encourage the Senate to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, legislation that will direct critical funding toward climate action and conservation. As the House prepares to consider the Act today, we are calling on Congress to finalize this critically important legislation and send it to the White House for swift enactment and implementation.
If enacted, this bill would invest $3.1 billion in support for Distressed Borrowers with direct or guaranteed Farm Service Agency (FSA) loans, as well as $40 billion for climate smart agriculture.
While the Inflation Reduction Act is not a perfect bill, and not the bill that we would dream up together, we believe that it is our last, best chance this year to secure critical conservation and energy funding necessary to combat climate change. And we believe that the Biden Administration will honor their commitment to advancing racial equity as they implement this new measure if it is enacted.
One of our guiding principles in this work is that policy change is necessary for a radical future. This is a moment of compromise and imperfect action, and at the same time, it is a moment of incremental yet significant progress toward our vision for a “just future where farming is free of racial violence, accessible to communities, oriented towards environmental well-being, and concerned with health over profit.”
We look forward to advocating for the quick and effective implementation of the provisions mentioned above–particularly regarding support for Distressed Borrowers–and for that implementation process to be a product of deep stakeholder engagement.
We stand in solidarity with our partners in this work and encourage you to read the statements on this complicated legislative effort from the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, The Rural Coalition, and National Family Farm Coalition.
David Howard and Vanessa García Polanco
Policy Campaigns Co-Directors
JOIN THE POWER IN LAND, AGRICULTURE, CLIMATE,
AND EQUITY (PLACE) FELLOWSHIP
Become part of a grassroots effort to replace the corporate climate agenda and promote a more equitable paradigm that positions farmers – especially young, LGBTQ+, and BIPOC farmers – as the source of innovation for justice and climate resilience! During this five-month, majority BIPOC fellowship, 10 young farmer leaders will attend five 2-hour virtual webinars, develop a creative action project, receive a $4,500 honorarium, get 1:1 coaching and ongoing support, and attend a Washington, D.C. fly-in in March 2023. Applications are due Monday, August 22, 2022.
FARM BILL LISTENING SESSION IN COLORADO
In June, Land Advocacy Fellow Benu Amun-Ra participated in a roundtable discussion at a farm bill listening session hosted by Senator Michael Bennet, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, in Fort Morgan, Colorado. Benu’s written testimony highlighted the need for equitable land access for young and BIPOC farmers.
FARM BILL HEARING ON CREDIT ACCESS
In July, Julia Asherman, owner and operator of Rag and Frass Farm in Georgia, testified at a House Agriculture Committee farm bill hearing on credit access. Julia spoke to the challenges many beginning farmers face when trying to access credit through the USDA and Farm Service Agency (FSA), such as lengthy application processes and student loan debt.
YOUNG FARMERS FELLOWSHIPS TRAIN
WATER LEADERS IN THE WEST
Megan Davey, our Water Fellowship Coordinator, shares the goals of the New Mexico Water Fellowship program and about how resourcing BIPOC and young farmers is key to shifting power and advancing equitable policy in agriculture in this new blog post.
CELEBRATING CHAPTER CAPACITY GRANT RECIPIENTS
This year, five Young Farmers chapters received our 2022 Muck Boot Chapter Capacity Grant, a $5,000 grant chapters can use to compensate their organizing efforts or cover expenses for a specific project, such as COVID-19 response efforts, racial equity trainings, or virtual platforms to increase connectivity. Read about the work of the Central Virginia Young Farmers Coalition, a new chapter that formed last year with big ambitions for changing policy and the future of farming in the state.
JOIN OUR TEAM!
Young Farmers is hiring a Grants Manager to support our fundraising efforts, providing essential support to our development team as we collectively fundraise to support our annual operating budget. Applications are due Monday, August 15th.
CULTIVATING RESILIENCE PODCAST
Check out the Cultivating Resilience podcast from Cultivemos, the network for cultivating farmer well-being. Episodes 1-6 are available now!
We’re excited to welcome Iowa Organizer Maia Usher-Rasmussen to the Young Farmers team! Read more about who they are and their work here.