With an eye toward drawing more young people into farming, Rep. Chris Collins appeared at the Post Farm in Elba today to announce his support of a bill that would provide aid and support to aspiring young farmers.
The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2013 is aimed at providing loans, grants and assistance to new farmers.
“Farming and the agriculture industry play a critical role in the economy of our area, and in communities all around the country,” Collins said. “But the average age of our nation’s farmer is 57 years old. With a large segment of America’s farmers and ranchers at or nearing retirement age, we have to encourage young people to enter this challenging, hard and vitally important line of work so we can sustain this economic engine.”
Collins appeared with members of Future Farmers of America, New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton and Genesee County Farm Bureau President Jeff Post.
"This will provide an opportunity for young people to get into farming," Norton said.
The bill would:
Enable access to land, credit and technical assistance for new producers;
Assist new producers to launch and strengthen new farm and value-added businesses;
Help new producers become good land stewards;
Provide training, mentoring, and research that beginning farmers and ranchers need to be successful;
Conduct outreach on agricultural job opportunities for military veterans.
For more on the bill, click here.
Ivy Reynolds, secretary of the NYS FAA, said the bill will ensure that young people like herself with a passion for farming will stick with farming.
"The engagement of young people in agricutlure is key to ensuring that when current owners and operators of New Yorks farms, dairies, nurseries and vineyards are ready to retire, there's a new generation that's ready, educated and excited about their role as the providers of nutrition," Reynolds said.
Post, Collins and Norton.
Reynolds, and a barn cat who stopped by to check out all of the activity.