Coalition wants continued investment in young farmers in Farm Bill
The National Young Farmers Coalition wants more – not less – money invested into young farmers in the next five-year farm bill. Sophie Acker, the coalition’s national field director, tells Brownfield they want the Agricultural Conservation Easement program fully funded because the #1 challenge for young farmers is land access, “Because young farmers are really benefitting from conserved farmland in terms of its affordability and so we want to make sure that that program continues into the future.” The ACEP program gives funding to land trusts across the country to help conserve farm land.
Acker says they also want the micro-loan program, which began in the 2014 farm bill, to continue, “Since then, 20,000 of these loans have been administered all across the country and these loans are really helping young farmers launch their farm businesses to give them credit to purchase tractors and seeds and, you know, the things they need at the beginning of the season.”
She tells Brownfield she knows the coalition’s wish list is long, “We know that additional funding may not be possible in this funding climate but at least protecting these important programs; these conservation programs, training programs, land conservation programs, at a time when we really need to be investing in the future not scaling it back.”
The National Young Famers Coalition is holding round table discussions about the 2018 farm bill this summer.