MCA Weighs in on Farm Bill: Minority and Beginner Farmer programs a must!

Many thanks to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition for putting together this Support Letter this correspondence and getting so many terrific groups to sign on!

From their website:

Groups Tell Senate to Protect Rural Development and Beginning and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers

June 6th, 2012

Today, June 6, NSAC along with nearly 200 organizations sent a letter to the Senate urging them to support measures to support rural development and beginning and minority farmers in the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012.

The farm bill that came out of the Senate Agriculture Committee provides no funding for the Rural Development title, placing successful key programs such as Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) and Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) in jeopardy.  Additionally, funding for theBeginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) and Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers program (Section 2501 – OASDFR) was severely cut, threatening the ability for these programs to maintain their successful outreach to new and
diverse farmers.

After scoring the Senate version of the farm bill, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that the bill managed to exceed its $23 billion savings commitment. Recognizing the proven job-creating ability of rural development, the sign-on organizations understand that investment in these programs will spur economic growth, jobs, and new farming opportunities, and suggest that the savings above the $23 billion be used as mandatory funding for the Rural Development title and beginning and socially disadvantaged farmer programs.

This group of organizations encouraged other Senators to join Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and other colleagues in supporting an amendment they are crafting to fund these priorities.

The vast majority of the national rural development organizations signed the letter, which was organized by NSAC and the National Association of Counties.

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