The bill builds upon a strategic collaboration among many farmer advocacy organizations, including the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and many NSAC member groups, including Land Stewardship Project, Center for Rural Affairs, National Young Farmers’ Coalition, California FarmLink, and Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance, among others. 

Over the past two years, NSAC and its allies have met with numerous officials at various USDA agencies, many legislative offices both in-district and on Capitol Hill, and with other farm and membership groups to solicit input on the bill’s provisions in order to make them as strong and targeted as possible.

The bill includes provisions that cut across six titles of the farm bill, including proposals that address conservation program set asides and incentives, access to credit, rural development, research and extension, and access to crop insurance and other risk management tools. 

These proposals aim to address many of the barriers that new farmers face, and will create real economic opportunities for the next generation of farmers.

"With the new farm bill, Congress has a great opportunity to enact a comprehensive beginning farmer and rancher initiative that breaks down barriers to entry and gives real support to ensure the effective start-up and success of new small and mid-scale producers across the country," said Obudzinski. 

"This bill establishes a beginning farmer federal policy platform we believe will garner wide support both on Capitol Hill and at the grassroots level."

For more information on the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Act of 2011, visit NSAC’s website.