Agriculture is a vibrant sector of our nation’s economy, yet high barriers to entry make farming and ranching one of the hardest careers to pursue. Limited access to land and markets, hyperinflation in land prices, high input costs, farm and tax policy disadvantages, and lack of training discourage many would-be producers from entering agriculture. As a result, the average American farmer is now 57-years-old, and the fastest growing group of farm operators are those 65 years and older. Despite these significant hurdles, there are dedicated people who see great opportunities in agriculture today and want to start their own farm or ranch businesses.
We need a national strategy and commitment to support beginning farmer and ranchers entering agriculture. With an aging farm population, now is the time to invest in the future of American agriculture by nurturing new agriculture start-ups.
The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2013 will invest in the next generation of American producers by:
Why It Matters
The Act is a bipartisan and bicameral bill that was introduced in both the House and Senate in April 2013. Several of the bill’s provisions were included in either or both the Senate-passed or House-passed Farm Bills, and NSAC and our members will be advocating that these provisions remain intact if and when Congress moves to conference and pass a final farm bill.
The Beginning and Farmer Rancher Opportunity Act is a result of strategic collaboration among many individuals and farmer advocacy organizations, including the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and many NSAC member groups, including Land Stewardship Project, Center for Rural Affairs, National Young Farmers’ Coalition, California FarmLink, and Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance, among others.