Center for Rural Affairs Applauds Beginning Farmer Legislation

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John Crabtree,, 402-687-2103 ext 1010
or Traci Bruckner,, 402 687-2103 ext 1016
LYONS, NE - The Center for Rural Affairs praised the introduction today of the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2007, a cross-cutting initiative to help the next generation of farmers and ranchers enter into agriculture and take advantage of emerging markets. The bill is sponsored by Representatives Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD), Tim Walz (D-MN) and Betty McCollum (D-MN) in the House and, in the Senate, by Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) along with Committee Members Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Max Baucus (D-MT), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
"Twenty five years ago there were over 350,000 American farmers under the age of 35, now there are fewer than 70,000. The revitalization of rural America depends, in a large part, on reversing that trend. A Congressional investment in beginning farmers and ranchers is an investment, by all Americans, in the future of rural America. And it is money well spent," said Traci Bruckner, Assistant Director for Rural Policy and member of USDA Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers.

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2007 includes:

  • Establishing the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, a beginning farmer and rancher training and support initiative that would provide $25 million per year in competitive grants to community-based organizations training and mentoring beginning farmers and ranchers.
  • Creating savings and lending provisions that help beginning farmers and ranchers access credit and establish a pattern of savings.
  • Providing conservation incentives to assist beginning farmers and ranchers and socially disadvantaged farmers to establish conservation practices and sustainable farming systems on their farms.

"This legislation addresses obstacles that often prevent the beginning farmers and ranchers from getting their operation started. It is smart, cost-effective public policy that invests in the future of rural America. And the introduction of these bills is a crucial first step in focusing more of the public investment in the 2007 farm bill on the next generation of farmers and ranchers," continued Bruckner.

To view the Center for Rural Affairs' report "Giving a Beginner a Chance in the 2007 Farm Bill" visit:

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