If we want to encourage a new generation to pursue a career in agriculture, we must have a national strategy and commitment to design public policy that addresses the unique needs of beginning farmers and ranchers.
Beginning with the 1990 farm bill, Congress created programs for beginning farmers and ranchers, particularly in the area of farm credit. The 2008 farm bill went further by reworking existing provisions and crafting new initiatives and incentives.
In the 2012 farm bill, we will encourage Congress to expand and improve on this base, break down barriers to entry and give real support to ensure the effective start-up and success of new small and mid-scale producers across the country.
We will push for greater commitment to the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, which provides beginning farmer and rancher training, more flexible credit provisions, increased access to conservation assistance and crop insurance that is relevant to diversified operations. We will also look for opportunities to include tax incentives to encourage leasing or selling land to beginners.
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