Farm Bill Programs for You and Your Community

Farm Bill Programs for You and Your Community is designed to provide farmers and ranchers information on farm bill programs that can help them get started in farming or ranching, establish high-value niche markets, implement  conservation-based farming or ranching systems as well as transition to organic farming or ranching.

The programs included in this guide stem from the programs and opportunities we highlighted in our report Giving a Beginner a Chance. This report examined a series of farm bill recommendations designed to address the challenges facing beginning and midsize farmers and ranchers to educate members of Congress on their needs. If they crafted a responsive farm bill it could encourage a new generation of agriculturists and ensure the future vitality of rural communities. The report offered examples of how farmers and ranchers have responded to challenges present in 21st century agriculture and summaries of relevant issues taken from research previously published by others.

At the time of this writing, most of the programs included in this guide are still in the draft rulemaking stage with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). That means some of the programs are not currently available but will be soon.

As rules and regulations are finalized, we will update this guide to reflect the details of exactly how these programs work, how you apply and what will make your application successful. We will also be updating this guide to include a special “examples” section that will illustrate how beginning and small and midsize family farmers and ranchers can “package” programs together to assist them with their farming endeavors.

Additionally, when the proposed rules and regulations for these programs become available there is generally a comment period where the public can provide comments on those proposed rules and regulations to emphasize what is good and what is not so good.

It is critical that farmers and ranchers add their voices to this process so these programs work effectively to serve their needs and the needs of their communities.

Once these programs become officially available, it is also critically important that as many farmers and ranchers as possible participate and use them to ensure we build a strong constituency for them. Moreover, the way we learn about how a program is being implemented is from farmers and ranchers going through the process. We rely heavily on farmers and ranchers relaying their experiences to us to enable us to work for any needed program changes. All of these efforts are critical components of working towards the next farm bill.

Download a PDF of the full guide here.

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