Bustos/Bost bill would allow cover crop loans
A bipartisan bill that would create a conservation assistance loan program for farmers has been introduced in the U.S. House. Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos tells Brownfield the bill is designed to help more farmers plant and manage cover crops while improving their soils and crop yields and is based on USDA marketing assistance loans. Bustos tells Brownfield Ag News, “Most of the farmers I talk with really want to use cover crops and create a more sustainable farm. But, the fact is that doing this is expensive and it takes a lot of work and it requires a lot of expertise.”
Bustos says there are fewer farmers participating in the marketing assistance loan program and this would change that while incentivizing the use of cover crops. She says it also is a way for young and beginning farmers to get a hand up, “For every six farmers over the age of 65 we have one farmer under the age of 35, so this helps address that. Also, the loan program gives a higher rate (of borrowing) to beginning farmers to help them get started.”
The bill would base conservation assistance loan rates on 60% of the five-year Olympic Moving Average of the Marketing Year Average and offer a higher loan rate to beginning farmers. Bustos says her co-sponsor is Congressman Mike Bost of Illinois and their bill is endorsed by the Illinois Farm Bureau.
Interview with Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL):