USDA offers more support for new farmers & ranchers
United States Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden recently announced the implementation of new Farm Bill measures and other policy changes to improve the financial security of new and beginning farmers and ranchers.
Harden also unveiled www.USDA.gov/newfarmers, a new website that will provide a centralized, one-stop resource where beginning farmers and ranchers can explore the variety of USDA initiatives designed to help them succeed.
"New and beginning farmers are the future of American agriculture," said Harden. "The average age of an American farmer is 58 and rising, so we must help new farmers get started if America is going to continue feeding the world and maintain a strong agriculture economy. The new policies will help give beginning farmers the financial security they need to succeed. Our new online tool will provide one-stop shopping for beginning farmers to learn more about accessing USDA services that can help their operations thrive."
USDA's www.usda.gov/newfarmers offers in-depth information for new farmers and ranchers, including increasing access to land and capital; building new market opportunities; participating in conservation opportunities; selecting and using the right risk management tools; and accessing USDA education, and technical support programs. New farmers have identified these issues as top priorities.
Increased support of beginning farmers and ranchers now includes:
• Waiving service fees for new and beginning farmers or ranchers to enroll in the Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) for the 2014 crop year. Under this waiver, announced via an official notice to Farm Service Agency offices, farmers and ranchers whom already enrolled in NAP for the 2014 crop year are eligible for a service fee refund.
• Eliminating payment reductions under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP ) for new and beginning farmers to allow routine, prescribed and emergency grazing outside the primary nesting season on enrolled land consistent with approved conservation plans. This will provide new and beginning farmers with extra financial support during emergencies like drought and other natural disasters.
• Increasing payment rates to beginning farmers and ranchers under Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP). Under this provision, beginning farmers and ranchers can claim up 90 percent of losses for lost livestock, such as bees, a 50 percent increase over previously available payment amounts to new and beginning farmers.
In the future, USDA will also announce additional crop insurance program changes for beginning farmers and ranchers - including discounted premiums, waiver of administrative fees, and other benefits.
For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.