FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Reana Kovalcik
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
NSAC Cheers House Effort to Support Next Generation of American Producers
Washington, DC, September 6, 2018 – Today, Congress members Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and Sanford Bishop (D-GA) sent a bipartisan letter with 51 additional signers to House Agriculture Committee leadership requesting the creation of a new program for beginning, veteran, and socially disadvantaged producers: the Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach (FOTO) program. Though the FOTO program was included in the Senate version of the Farm Bill, the House did not include it in their draft. Now that the farm bill has moved into the conference stage, the signers of the House letter are pushing for the innovative new program to be included in the final conferenced version of the 2018 Farm Bill.
The FOTO program would streamline and strengthen the best components of the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) and the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers Program (OASDVFR) in order to create a singular, stronger program.
In response to the announcement of the delivery of the House letter, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition issued the following statement:
FOTO, if included in the next farm bill, would do the critical work of facilitating the transfer of skills, knowledge, and land between current and future generations, and create economic opportunities for our nation’s most chronically underserved farmers. By merging existing efforts to support these farmers into a single, coordinated program, Congress could simultaneously streamline outreach and support for these farmers and also – because the funding level for FOTO in the Senate draft bill would give the new program mandatory baseline funding – ensure that farmers could rely on that support for many years into the future.
This innovative new program would address the critical issues new, aspiring, veteran and other underserved farmers face in accessing land, building skills, and managing risk and financial security. NSAC applauds Representatives Luján and Bishop, as well as all the signers of the FOTO support letter, for sending a strong signal to the farm bill conference committee that the next farm bill must include permanent support for the future farmers and ranchers of America.
About the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. Learn more and get involved at: https://sustainableagriculture.net