Beginning Farmer Opportunity Act – Ask Your Legislators to Co-sponsor Today!

URGENT   —   URGENT   —   URGENT

Ask your Legislators (Your Two Senators and your Member of Congress) to Co-sponsor the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2011 Today!

 This legislation will be introduced next week — So we need you to make a call today!!!

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2011 is a jobs creator and sound investment that can assist new farmers and ranchers who are getting started.  The bill has emerged over the past year from extensive dialogue around the country by beginning farmers, organizations that represent them, and legislative champions of the new farmer cause.

It will be introduced in both the House and the Senate the week of October 3.  To get beginning farmers into the 2012 Farm Bill in a real and meaningful way, we need to show big support from as many legislators as possible.

Agriculture is a growing and vibrant sector of our nation’s economy, yet farming and ranching as a career choice may be one of the most difficult occupations to enter.  Limited access to land and markets, hyper land price inflation, high input costs, and a lack of sufficient support networks are just a few barriers new agriculture entrepreneurs face. Despite these hurdles people want to farm or ranch and see great opportunities in agriculture. Community organizations and institutions are seeing a wave of interest in farming.  And while there is no silver bullet for guaranteed success, we can provide tools and incentives that give new agriculture entrepreneurs a leg up.

Ask your U.S. Senators and Representative to be an original co-sponsor of the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2011. 

Example message: I’m calling to urge Senator/Congress(wo)man _________________ to co-sponsor the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2011.   This legislation is being introduced in the House and Senate next week.  It will help new farmers get started in agriculture.  It’s a jobs creator and a cost effective smart investment.  Can I count on Senator/Congress(wo)man_____________ to be a co-sponsor?

You can also call the Capitol Switchboard and ask to be directly connected to your Senators’ and Member of Congress’s office: 202-224-3121.  Or go to Congress.org and type in your zip code, then click on your Senators and Member of Congress’s name, and then on the contact tab for their phone number.

When you call a Senate or House office, ask for the staff member who works on agricultural issues.  Make sure to tell them who you are, where you’re from and what organizations you’re with or the type of farm you operate.  If the agriculture staffer isn’t available, leave a message and have them call you back. It is possible agriculture staffers will ask for a copy of the bill or for additional information.  Feel free to share the link below.  If your elected official will co-sponsor, they will need to communicate that with either the office of Senator Tom Harkin or Senator John Thune in the case of Senate offices or Representative Tim Walz in the case of House offices.

For a copy of a summary of the bill, go to http://sustainableagriculture.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/BFROA-Short-Summary-Sept-2011.pdf.

If you have any questions please feel to call or e-mail me, Taylor Reid at 517-449-2525 or beginningfarmers@gmail.com, to contact the Land Stewardship Project at 612-722-6377 or email Adam Warthesen at adamw@landstewardshipproject.org.

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