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Johanns Outlines Proposals to Help Beginning Farmers

USDA's 2007 Farm Bill proposals aim to help young men and women take up farming.

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns Tuesday described in greater detail a broad package of proposed changes to several titles of the farm bill that will help future generations of farmers and ranchers become established in production agriculture.

Some key proposals include increased direct payments to beginning farmers of major crops during their first five years, targeting 10% of conservation payments to beginning farmers and ranchers, reducing the interest rate under the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Down Payment Loan Program and doubling the maximum loan amount among other enhancements, and creating a combined maximum for direct operating loans direct ownership loans of $500,000.

"The future strength of American agriculture depends in part on the ability of young men and women to overcome the challenges associated with entering production agriculture," Johanns told the state FFA convention in Iowa. "This sentiment was echoed across the nation during our Farm Bill Forums, and I believe very strongly that our proposals would help to address those challenges and support the success of the next generation of farmers and ranchers. Our proposals provide tangible benefits and help in leveraging assets to purchase or expand farm and ranch operations."

To see the full USDA Farm Bill proposal document, visit

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