FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Evan Flom, Campaign Communications Manager
National Young Farmers Coalition
email@example.com, 518-643-3564 ext. 742
Washington, D.C. (October 3, 2023) On September 20, the National Young Farmers Coalition (Young Farmers) delivered a letter to House and Senate Agriculture Committee leadership signed by 175 national, regional, and local organizations in support of the Increasing Land Access, Security, and Opportunities Act (H.R.3955, S.2340) (LASO).
The letter, signed by companies such as Chipotle, Whole Foods Market, Applegate, and Clif Bar, alongside dozens of national, regional, and local advocacy and farmer-service organizations, calls on Congress to make a historic investment in equitable land access in the 2023 Farm Bill. Together with Young Farmers, the 175 organizations signed on to this letter represent and serve nearly 7 million people across the country, which speaks to the scale of the need and urgency to find solutions in the upcoming farm bill.
This summer, Young Farmers and several of our partners worked alongside Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) and Representatives Nikki Budzinski (D-IL-13), Zach Nunn (R-IA-03), Joe Courtney (D-CT-02), and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07), to introduce the Increasing Land Access, Security, and Opportunities Act in both the Senate and the House. This bill would expand on the promise of the one-time $300 million funding opportunity released by USDA in August 2022, the Increasing Land, Capital, and Market Access Program, and authorize $100 million in annual funding through the 2023 Farm Bill for community-led farmland access, retention, and transition projects.
“With the average age of American family farmers approaching 60 years old, it’s critical that we provide support to help bring the next generation into agriculture,” said Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski (D-IL-13). “I’m proud to be working with the National Young Farmers Coalition on bipartisan legislation to help young and beginning farmers gain access to land, markets and capital—the biggest barriers for new and underserved farmers. I look forward to working together to get this legislation included in the 2023 Farm Bill.”
Funding from this legislation would be available to a wide variety of entities, such as tribes, municipalities, non-profits, and cooperatives. Projects would provide direct access to funding for producers and serve the needs of farmers and ranchers who have been most marginalized from accessing federal resources. When farmers have secure, equitable access to land, they contribute to national food security, strengthen local supply chains, grow rural economies, and build climate resilience. An investment in access to farmland in the next farm bill will generate immense returns for taxpayers.
“The Farm Bill touches the lives of virtually every American and is vital to our state’s economy,” said Senator Tina Smith (D-MN). “This legislation will help beginning farmers access land and develop markets for their products, two of the biggest issues I have heard during my Farm Bill listening sessions around the state. I will continue working to get them across the finish line and make this year’s Farm Bill as strong as possible.”
As the House and Senate Agriculture Committees are writing their drafts of the farm bill, we are continuing to make our voices heard and build momentum for this legislation. In addition to joining the sign-on letter, we encourage organizations to take action now to let your members of Congress know you support this solution.
“Land access is the number one challenge facing the next generation of producers. We hear from farmers in our network and from our partner organizations every day that this challenge has reached a crisis level,” said Holly Rippon-Butler, Land Policy Director with Young Farmers. “Without the opportunity, or even the future prospect, of secure access to land, producers are losing hope and leaving farming, or never starting at all. This is not just a crisis impacting young farmers, it weighs heavily on retiring farmers and has cascading effects across the food system.”
The current farm bill expired on September 30th. It is imperative that Congress acts now to ensure that the critical funding for our food and farm systems not only continues, but that the next farm bill makes a much-needed investment in secure and equitable land tenure. We look forward to working together with members of Congress, the USDA, farmers, and our partner organizations to further this legislation and through the implementation work that will follow.
Please visit youngfarmers.org/land to learn more about the National Young Farmers Coalition’s One Million Acres for the Future campaign, made possible with support from Chipotle, which aims to equitably transition farmland to the next generation of farmers through a historic investment in the 2023 Farm Bill.
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The National Young Farmers Coalition (Young Farmers) is a national grassroots network of young farmers changing policy and shifting power to equitably resource the new generation of working farmers. Visit Young Farmers on the web at www.youngfarmers.org, and on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.