Budzinski prioritizing young and beginning farmers

House Ag Committee member Nikki Budzinski says expanding opportunities for beginning farmers is one of her 2023 Farm Bill priorities.

The Illinois Democrat tells Brownfield the bipartisan Young Farmer Initiative she introduced with Iowa Republican Zach Nunn addresses one of the biggest barriers for young people interested in farming.

“To help young and beginning farmers get access to capital through low interest loans that will then allow them to purchase and acquire land.”

She says the average age of US farmers is increasing and there needs to be a greater focus on future generations.

“We need to start identifying that pipeline, that next generation of farmers that are going to come in and produce our corn, our soy, our pork. And that’s going to take investment.”

Budzinski says she has also been focused on workforce development as many industries including agriculture continue to face a labor shortage.

“We need to create more pathways so that people can get the skills training they need, whether it’s through a Union apprenticeship program or a Community College, and then they can get right into the workforce, into jobs that I know are open right now in central and southern Illinois that will provide for a family.”

Brownfield interviewed Budzinksi during Agriculture Day at the Illinois State Fair.

Audio: Interview with Representative Nikki Budzinski

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