Congressman Jeff Fortenberry today joined Reps. Tim Walz (D-MN), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Ranking Member of the Agriculture Committee, and Chris Gibson (R-NY), to introduce the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill is designed to help young people and beginning farmers establish careers in agriculture. Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate today.
"Agriculture is essential to our country's wellbeing. Good agricultural policy is critical to America's economic security, energy security, and even national security. Given the average age of the American farmer today is 57 years old, we should work to ensure that the next generation of farmers and ranchers have the opportunity to overcome the financial barriers unique to agricultural operations," said Fortenberry (R-NE). "I'm proud to support this legislation, which provides a variety of support options involving access to farm credit for young producers, cost-saving conservation practices, emerging market opportunities such as locally and organically raised foods within regional foods systems, and increased outreach on agricultural job opportunities for our nation's veterans."
The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act seeks to ready a new generation of American ag producers by modifying and improving upon existing farm programs to help reduce the steep financial burdens of setting up an agricultural business.
The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act will invest in the next generation of American producers by:
-Enabling access to land, credit, and crop insurance for new producers.
-Assisting new producers to launch and strengthen new farm and value-added businesses.
-Helping new producers become good stewards of the land.
-Providing training, mentoring, and research that beginning farmers and ranchers need to be successful.
-Conducting outreach on agricultural job opportunities for military veterans.
Fortenberry is a member of the Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Agricultureal Appropriations. He is a former chairman of the Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, and Credit.