USDA Farm Service Agency Administrator Jonathan Coppess says nominations for individuals to serve on the Advisory Committee for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers are being accepted through Oct. 5, 2009.
"This committee will work to update or develop policies and programs that will hopefully make it easier for beginning producers to enter the agricultural industry," said Coppess. "This committee will help strengthen our nation's food supply for the coming decades, and I urge qualified individuals to apply."
The Agricultural Credit Improvement Act of 1992 requires the Secretary of Agriculture to establish the Committee. The 20-member Committee advises the Secretary on ways to support federal and state programs that administer joint financing to beginning farmers and ranchers and maximize new opportunities created through those programs. A notice requesting nominations was published in the Federal Register on Sept. 3, 2009.
To qualify, individuals must belong to or participate in any of the following groups, programs, or agencies: USDA's Farm Service Agency; state beginning farmer programs; commercial lenders; private nonprofit organizations currently participating in a beginning farmer or rancher program; the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service; community colleges or other educational institutions with demonstrated experience in training beginning farmers or ranchers; and other entities or persons providing lending or technical assistance to qualified beginning farmers or ranchers. Farmers and ranchers are also eligible for nomination.