Senate Agriculture Committee passes farm bill with additional wins for young farmers

Wisconsin State Farmer
National Young Farmers Coalition

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) celebrated additional policy wins on June 13, as the Senate Agriculture Committee completed its mark up of the 2018 Farm Bill with a unanimous vote.

Before sending the bill to the floor for consideration by the full Senate, the Committee adopted amendments to add additional proposals for young and beginning farmers and ranchers.

“Today, members of the Senate Agriculture Committee are thinking like real farmers— with purpose, seriousness, and a deadline. They recognize the stakes and consequences of this Farm bill, and they’re looking beyond politics to get the job done,” said Lindsey Lusher Shute, NYFC’s co-founder and Executive Director. “This bipartisan farm bill meets the urgency of the moment. We thank Chairman Roberts, Ranking Member Stabenow, and our other champions on the Committee for listening to the nation’s young farmers. Today’s proceedings further underscore the importance of defeating the divisive House Farm Bill and delivering a bipartisan bill to the President’s desk on time.”

Among the amendments supported by NYFC and adopted by the Senate Agriculture Committee on June 13:

• Amendment offered by Senators Casey (D-PA) and Ernst (R-IA) to increase funding set-asides for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers in working lands conservation programs.

• Amendment offered by Senator Leahy (D-VT) to strengthen farmland conservation easements that keep farmers on the land.

• Amendment offered by Senator Klobuchar (D-MN) to improve the Transition Incentives Program (CRP-TIP) to facilitate the transfer of farmland between retiring landowners and beginning, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers and ranchers.

• Amendment offered by Senator Bennet (D-CO) to create a “micro-EQIP” pilot program to improve access to EQIP for young and small-scale farmers and ranchers.

• Amendment offered by Sen. Klobuchar (D-MN) prevented a vote on a harmful amendment offered by Sen. Hoeven (R-ND) that would have increased caps on taxpayer guaranteed farm loans in favor of big farms and put beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers at a severe disadvantage in accessing credit. Sen. Klobuchar’s amendment instead raised loan limits by a moderate amount while including new reporting requirements for banks to ensure adequate participation by beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers.