Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2013

H.R.1727 and S.837

Investing in the future of American agriculture

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.

Bill Basics

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2013 will invest in the next generation of American producers by:

  • Enabling access to land, credit and technical assistance for new producers.
  • Assisting new producers to launch and strengthen new farm and value-added businesses.
  • Helping new producers become good land stewards.
  • Providing training, mentoring, and research that beginning farmers and ranchers need to be successful.
  • Conducting outreach on agricultural job opportunities for military veterans.

Why It Matters

  • The future of family farming and ranching in America – and the viability of our nation’s food supply – depends upon removing existing obstacles to entry into farming so that more people can start to farm.
  • This bill encompasses a national strategy for addressing those barriers, focusing on the issues that consistently rank as the greatest challenges for beginning producers.
  • This bill makes an important investment in the next generation of farmers and ranchers at a cost of just a fraction of one percent of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s budget.

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.

More information 

  • To learn more about the provisions in the bill, visit the Bill Summary page
  • To view the breakdown of the bill by farm bill title, visit the Section-by-Section page.
  • To view press coverage of the bill, visit the Press page.
  • To view Congressional support for the bill, visit the Co-sponsors page.
  • To view organizational support for the bill, visit the Organizational Support page.
  • To learn more about how you can get involved, visit the “Take Action” page.