Last week Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) announced the introduction of the bipartisan Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2013 (H.R. 1727/S. 837) in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.  The two identical bills expand opportunities and remove barriers for beginning farmers and those who wish to pursue a career in agriculture.

The bill reduces barriers, such as credit and land access issues, that new agriculture entrepreneurs face, and invests in successful new-farmer training programs and grants to help farmers capture more of the retail food dollar through value-added enterprises.

The comprehensive legislative package invests in critical federal conservation, credit, research, and rural development programs that support opportunities for new farmers and ranchers.  The bill was originally introduced in the previous Congress, and gained the support of 37 members in the House and Senate who signed on to co-sponsor the bill.  In addition to NACo, over 170 organizations officially endorsed the bill.

For more information, contact Erik Johnston at