Here's the September update from the National Young Farmers’ Coalition. It includes information about taking action on upcoming legislation for young farmers; encourages you to send a message to the USDA on organic programs; helps keep folks up to date about how to get involved with a state coalition; and talks about upcoming events. Take a minute to take action below!
Young Farmers Visit Congress: In June, the NYFC co-sponsored a beginning farmer fly-in with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition in an effort to build support for the "Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2011." This legislation, which fixes, funds and adds to USDA programs for beginners, will be introduced in the House and Senate soon.
Here are a few of the bill's highlights: More money up front for Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) cost-sharing projects. This program helps farmers install conservation structures, such as high tunnels; A rule change to reduce the number of years that farmers must have managed a farm before qualifying for a direct farm ownership loans, and higher limits for those loans in certain real estate markets; More cash for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (translation: more training programs for you!); New specialists to help beginning farmers at state USDA offices; A beginning farmer microloan program, to be operated by the Farm Service Agency (FSA); and A beginning farmer program for military veterans. Take Action! We need your help in building bi-partisan support for this legislation. Ask your member of Congress to support the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act today.
State Coalitions on the Rise: In Connecticut, Washington and Michigan, young farmers are coming together to build supportive networks. If you're interested in getting involved, here's where to go:
New - Connecticut - Farmers Alliance - Michigan Young Farmers Coalition - Washington Young Farmers Coalition -To start a coalition in your state, email firstname.lastname@example.org
How Can USDA Help Organic Growers? Next week, NYFC will travel back to D.C. to participate in a USDA listening session on organic agriculture — and we need your help in writing our testimony. We want to know how the USDA is doing in supporting young and beginning organic farmers, including certification, the National Organic Program and other USDA activities. Take Action! Tell us how the USDA can better help organic growers
NYFC Events: The WA Young Farmers Coalition is at it again with their upcoming Fall Mixer on October 3rd! More info here.