New legislation introduced to help young farmers

Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the US House to help young farmers and veterans to purchase land and begin farming.

The Farmers of Tomorrow Act, sponsored by Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos and Pennsylvania Congressman Glenn Thompson, would allow new, beginning, or veteran farmers to count a variety of qualifications toward the current three-year experience requirement to make it easier to access funding from the USDA.  The proposed legislation updates experience requirements that do not take into account the different paths that could prepare future farmers to run their operations.

Experiences that can be counted toward the three-year year requirement:

  • At least 16 hours of post-secondary education in a field related to agriculture
  • Successful completion of a farm management curriculum
  • At least one year of business management
  • An honorable discharge from the United States military
  • Successful repayment of a youth loan
  • At least one year as hired farm labor with management responsibilities
  • Successful completion of a farm mentorship, apprenticeship, or internship program
  • An established relationship with an approved farm or ranch mentor
  • Successful completion of a military leadership course

Congresswoman Bustos says lack of access to land is the top reason too many aspiring farmers choose a different career.  She says it is more important now than ever to encourage young people and veterans to pursue a career in agriculture.

Congressman Thompson says the legislation will encourage new farmers and help strengthen rural communities.   He says access is essential to supporting the next generation of farmers and ranchers.

AUDIO: Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos

  • Too bad the usda didn’t offer more to help current struggling farm land owners hold onto and farm own property
    Poor farm widow

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