A coalition of more than 75 farm groups sent a letter to House Agriculture Committee Chair Frank Lucas and Ranking Member Collin Peterson, to thank them for their support in moving the Farm Bill forward, and urge them to continue momentum.
“Farmers need certainty about farm policy as they make annual operating decisions,” the letter read, “so it is important we get a farm bill done this year.”
The farm bill, aptly named the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act, is much more than the policy behind production agriculture—it’s a job creator, the protector of our domestic food system and a conservationist.
“In addition to helping farmers plan ahead and mitigate risk to survive the tough times, the bill provides critical investment in rural communities, conserves precious natural resources like soil and water, provides food for those less fortunate, and creates new sources of energy made here at home.”
If the bill fails to make it to the House floor, the agricultural community could find themselves in an extremely vulnerable position on September 30th when the current policies are set to expire.
If that happens, not only will established operations suffer, young start-ups may find it impossible to continue their operations.
“Farmers borrow more money per year to cash flow their operations than most people will borrow in a lifetime, but beginning farmers often lack the assets and track records needed to give banks enough confidence to take the risk,” Derek Orsenigo, a 25 year-old sugar farmer from Belle Glade, Florida recently wrote to the Tampa Tribune.
“Without operating capital, young growers can’t survive in the farming business, and that should scare the heck out of everyone… [because] according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, for every producer 25 years or younger, there are five who are over the age of 75. In fact, the average U.S. farmer is 58 years old—the oldest at any time in our country’s history.”
To read the full letter, click here.