Bruckner adds, "We commend the sponsors and co-sponsors for introducing the beginning farmer and rancher bill. This legislation is smart, cost-effective public policy that will create jobs and invest in the future of rural America. It addresses key obstacles that often prevent beginning farmers and ranchers from getting their operations started."
According to Bruckner, the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act contains multiple provisions, including:
* Reauthorizing the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, an initiative that would provide $20 million in annual mandatory funding through 2018 to help meet growing demand for the program, and include a new priority on agricultural rehabilitation and vocational training programs for military veterans, as well as food safety training.
* Put $20 million in added funding into the Value-Added Producer Grants Program and retain the priority for projects benefiting beginning farmers and ranchers as well as a set-aside of program funding for these projects.
* Create savings and enhance lending provisions that help beginning farmers and ranchers and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers establish conservation practices and sustainable systems on their farms and ranches.
"Creating a new generation of family farmers and ranchers is a long row to hoe, but there are proven strategies that create real opportunities for beginners," says Bruckner. "And the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act is written to invest in those strategies and help new farmers and ranchers overcome barriers to take advantage of emerging markets."