The Real Great Pumpkin - New Initiatives for growing the next farm and ranch generation

The Peanuts character Linus, spends Halloween waiting for the Great Pumpkin - and some look for a silver bullet for the decline of family farming and ranching. The U.S. has lost 80 percent of its youngest farmers and ranchers in 30 years. And new generations on the land have and will always be vital to small towns and rural communities across America.
Unfortunately, there is no Great Pumpkin, and no silver bullet for reversing the exodus of America’s farms and ranches. There are, however, proven strategies that create opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers. It will take hard work to build the next generation of American family farmers and ranchers.

Representatives Tim Walz (D-MN) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) recently introduced the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act, an initiative aimed at helping the next generation of farmers and ranchers overcome barriers into agriculture and take advantage of emerging markets.

The bill is smart, cost-effective public policy that will create jobs and invest in the future of America, by investing in training, mentoring, business planning and marketing services for beginners, and funding for the Value Added Producer Grants program with special emphasis on projects benefiting new farmers and ranchers.

Moreover, the bill will create saving and enhanced lending provisions that help beginners access credit and establish savings while also providing incentives to assist them in establishing conservation and sustainability practices on their operations, and the list goes on. Thank you Rep. Fortenberry and Rep. Walz for your vision and courage.

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