National Young Farmers Coalition Challenges House Farm Bill Draft, Advocates for Equitable Farmland Access and Climate-Focused Policies

By Trish Svoboda

On Friday, May 17, the Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Glenn “G.T.” Thompson, presented his draft of the House Farm Bill. The National Young Farmers Coalition and other advocates oppose the bill due to its failure to prioritize fair access to farmland, divestment from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and removal of climate provisions.

The Coalition argues that federal farm policy should focus on equity, land access, farm viability, and climate change. However, they believe the draft falls short of prioritizing the needs of the new generation of farmers and ranchers. The draft also fails to include federal funding for community-driven land access and retention initiatives, crucial for young and BIPOC farmers. It also overlooks the opportunity to curb corporate ownership and consolidation of farmland.

The Coalition remains hopeful for policy changes in the Farm Bill process. Despite its flaws, the draft has positives like a trial program for pre-approval of Direct Farm Ownership loans, increased loan qualification flexibility, support for heirs’ property issues, and land access and ownership data collection.

The National Young Farmers Coalition advocates for equitable farmland access and capital for young farmers, emphasizing the need for federal conservation programs. Despite the House Bill draft’s shortcomings, the Coalition remains committed to advocating for policies that address young farmers’ unique challenges and opportunities.

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