October 11, 2013
As the House and Senate inch closer to entering official negotiations over what should be in a final farm bill, 138 organizations signed onto a letter that was delivered this week which urges House and Senate agriculture leaders to support beginning farmers in any farm bill conference negotiations.
This letter was spearheaded by the Land Stewardship Project (LSP), a community-based and farmer-member organization based in the upper Midwest, with additional support from NSAC. LSP, an NSAC member group, has been a long-standing champion of beginning farmers and together with NSAC and our other member groups and allies across the country, has been successful in advocating for programs that support training and technical assistance for new farmers.
“We urge [Congress] to move forward in a deliberate manner to pass a new farm bill,” said Adam Warthesan of the Land Stewardship Project in a statement upon delivery of the letter to Congressional leaders. “Farm bills are needed to provide certainty to producers but also to spur forward opportunities in the agriculture sector. One opportunity and worthwhile investment a farm bill must make is in the next generation of beginning farmers and ranchers.”
One program included in the letter is the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), which the undersigned organizations urge House and Senate leaders to fund at the House level of $20 million per year. This program supports new farmer training programs across the country and is one of the so-called “stranded” programs that has been on hold since its funding expired last fall.
Other beginning farmer provisions that were included in the letter were the:
This year’s farm bill debate advanced several policies to support the next generation of farmers, including several forward-thinking provisions contained in both the Senate and House-passed bills that expand access to credit, support agricultural training for military veterans, and make it easier for new farmers to access affordable farmland. The letter urges the leaders of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees to include the strongest polices from both bill that support new and aspiring farmers in order to write the strongest possible farm bill that truly invests in the next generation of farmers.
Click here to view a copy of the letter delivered to Congress on October 10, 2013.