Sen. Franken Leads Call for Greater Support to Help Beginning Farmers and Ranchers
Says Program Prepares Next Generation of Farmers, Ranchers For Challenges of Agriculture Industry
With the average age of the Minnesota farmer at 55, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) today pressed key members of the Senate Agriculture Committee to increase support for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program as part of the 2012 federal Farm Bill. The program provides important training and assistance to farmers and ranchers starting out in the agriculture industry in Minnesota and across the nation.
“Agriculture is vital to Minnesota's economic well being, and we need to ensure that the next generation of farmers and ranchers are prepared to take on the challenges of this important industry,” said Sen. Franken. “I've talked with men and women across the state who are interested in farming and ranching, but who need help getting started. Increased support for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program will give them that help."
Originally authorized in the 2002 Farm Bill, the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program provides grants and loans to community organizations and educational institutions that assist and support beginning farmers and ranchers.
The full text of the letter written by Sen. Franken and signed by four other U.S. Senators is available here.