The Senate Agriculture Committee’s version of the 2012 Farm Bill is up for debate by the full Senate this week. But it looks like they forgot to include a few things in the farm bill – like robust funding for rural development and beginning and socially disadvantaged farmer programs.
That’s right! Programs that boost jobs through rural entrepreneurship, invest in the future of American agriculture, and provide assistance to historically underserved farmers received little-to-no funding in Committee’s bill.
How could these important programs get left behind?
Fortunately, there is still a chance to ensure that these programs are not forgotten. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) along with other interested Senators, are considering offering an amendment that restores funding to crucial rural development and beginning and socially disadvantaged farmer programs including:
- Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) which provides public resources to community-based organizations that provide training, education, and other support for beginning farmers and ranchers;
- Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers which supports outreach, training, and coordination with socially disadvantaged producers;
- Value Added Producer Grants (VAPG), providing grants to farmers or groups of farmers and partners to enhance the value of agriculture products; and,
- Rural Micro-Entrepreneurship Assistance Program (RMAP) – offers resources to groups to do entrepreneurial lending in rural communities
Will you support their efforts to ensure the 2012 Farm Bill creates jobs in rural America and invests in the next generation of farmers?
Call your Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein TODAY and ask for their support
on the possible amendment that funds rural development and beginning and socially
disadvantaged farmer programs:
Senator Boxer; (202) 224-3553
Senator Feinstein; (202) 224-3841
Your Senators need to hear that you want a farm bill with real reform and real improvements for our rural places and the future of farming. Don’t delay – the Senate is about to start debate on the 2012 Farm Bill, so they need to hear from you TODAY.