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Capital for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Act Introduced

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Legislative

Capital for Beginning Farmers

The Capital for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Act, introduced by Representatives Marilyn Strickland, Alma Adams, Jimmy Panetta, and Senator Peter Welch, aims to support new farmers by directing the Farm Service Agency to create a multi-year loan pilot program. This program will offer flexible loans with reduced interest rates and collateral requirements, designed to cover initial assets and the development of production and management systems.

Key features include loans up to $100,000, repayment terms of 3-10 years, and robust technical assistance. The act addresses the significant start-up costs that new farmers face, such as establishing financial management systems, increasing soil fertility, and building business infrastructure. The legislation is being supported by groups including the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, California Certified Organic Farmers, and the National Center for Appropriate Technology. The bill is expected to alleviate certain financial barriers by providing the necessary capital and support to ensure long-term success and sustainability in farming operations.

“The Capital for Beginning Farmers Act proposes an innovative, yet balanced, pilot loan program that will serve a real need to uplift the next generation of farmers, who often struggle to finance start-up costs and repay loans within the first year of operation,” Policy Specialist for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Billy Hackett said in a press release. “If successful, the pilot might even pave the way for lenders, including USDA, to enter into more reciprocal lending arrangements with borrowers, investing in the long-term health of their farm businesses.”

Listen to the report below.

Brian German
Ag News Director / AgNet West