For now it looks like extensions and more extensions... Check out the Washington Post's latest article here. Inaction on the part of congress could have major consequences for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program which funds critical services to new farmers. In fact, RAFFL's New Farmer Initiative is partially funded by the program. To find out more about the direct effects of inaction read "Lame Duck: Inaction on Farm Bill Will Halt Innovation."
To find out more about the Farm Bill and what it's all about American Farmland Trust has a great website that lays out the facts clearly, click here to find out more.
Here are a few facts relevant to beginning farmers. Facts are brought to you from the American Farmland Trust's Farm Bill 101 Primer:
- "Out of a U.S. population estimated by the 2010 Census at 308 million people, about 2.2 percent(6.8 million) are farm operators or farm household members" (page 4).
- "In the U.S. House of Representatives, it takes 218members (a simple majority) to pass a farm bill. According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, more than one-third of U.S. House of Representatives members represent fewer than 1,500 farmers in their districts" (page 7).
- "According to the 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture, there are more than five times as many farmers at age 65 and older as there are 35 and younger.Farmers aged 65 and older own nearly 416 million acres of farm and ranch land — land that will likely change ownership in the next 20 years.
Increased funding is needed for farm bill programs that can help farmers and ranchers protect their land and pass it on to the next generation, and for programs that help beginning and young farmers enter the business and keep their operations viable" (page 8).