WASHINGTON, DC - Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) and Congressman Glenn Thompson (PA-5) introduced the Farmers of Tomorrow Act, which is designed to make it easier for young farmers and veterans to purchase new land to begin a farming career.
“It is more important than ever that we encourage young people and veterans to pursue a career in agriculture,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “Lack of access to land is the top reason that too many aspiring young farmers end up choosing another career. This bill allows more new and beginning farmers to get loans, buy land, and begin their future in farming. I’m grateful to Congressman Thompson for working with me on this bipartisan legislation.”
New and beginning farmers can obtain ownership loans through the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to buy land.
“Access to land is essential for supporting the next generation of farmers and growing American agriculture,” Congressman Thompson said. “This commonsense legislation will further encourage new farmers and help strengthen rural communities. I am particularly pleased that the bill increases new farming opportunities for our men and women in uniform who have honorably served. I applaud Representative Bustos on this important bill.”
The Farmers of Tomorrow Act allows new, beginning, or veteran farmers to count any of the following toward the current three-year experience requirement to make it easier to access USDA financing.
Agricultural real estate values doubled between 2004 and 2013. This year, the national average for farmland real estate value was $3,080. Farmland has become increasingly unaffordable, prospective owners are competing against large corporate farms and investors.
Access to land is the top reason that young farmers leave the industry, and the reason that many aspiring farmers do not pursue a career in agriculture. The affordability of farmland poses a steep barrier to entry and, to attract first generation farmers, it must be addressed.
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