Legislators in both the House and Senate introduced a bill this week to help new farmers and ranchers get started in agriculture.
The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2007 is sponsored by Representatives Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-S.D., Tim Walz, D-Minn., and Betty McCollum, D-Minn., in the House and, in the Senate, by Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, along with Committee Members Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.
Provisions of the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2007 include:
- 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.