Dedicated Research Funding for a New Generation of Farmers and Ranchers

Very little federal research funding currently is dedicated to new farming opportunities, farm transfer and succession, farm transition and entry, or farm viability issues. In relation to the upcoming transfer of some 400 million acres of land over the next two decades and the barriers to entry faced by new farmers, including those from socially disadvantaged groups, the funding for research and extension on these issues paltry indeed.
The emerging generation of farmers includes both people with farm backgrounds and those without. Of those without farm backgrounds, many are coming to farming as a second or third career change. They are ethnically and culturally diverse and interested in a wide range of crop and livestock systems. Many of these new farmers do not have the same family or community connections that have served to launch previous generations of farmers. There is a substantial need for research and development regarding a wide variety of models for new farmer training, land transition, making rental land accessible as an entry option, lower risk production start-up options, and alternative financing throughout the nation for an increasingly diverse new generation of farmers and ranchers.

The 2007 Farm Bill should include language in the research title making farm transfer and farm entry issues and the needs of beginning, immigrant, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers a priority research area. The new farm bill should also incorporate language specifically designating a new national program area for these issues within the national competitive grants program.

View the Center for Rural Affairs' report "Giving a Beginner a Chance in the 2007 Farm Bill", http://www.cfra.org/policy/2007/beginningfarmer.   

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