Beginning Farmers and Ranchers and the Agricultural Act of 2014

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Support for beginning farmers and ranchers can be found throughout the Agricultural Act of 2014. The Act provides increased funding for beginning farmer development, facilitates the transfer of farmland to the next generation of farmers, and improves outreach and communication to military veterans about farming and ranching opportunities. Among the provisions, the Act reauthorizes and increases funding for the Conservation Reserve Program Transition Incentives Program to $33 million (available until expended) during 2014-18 to assist retired or retiring farmers transfer their land to beginning farmers or ranchers and other targeted groups of farmers. The Act reauthorizes and increases funding to a total of $100 million over 2014-18 for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, establishes a Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison to provide information to returning veterans about beginning farmer training programs, and provides ways for these veterans to connect with the program. The Act also makes a technical change that alters the acreage limit in the definition of a “qualified beginning farmer or rancher”; under the new definition, more producers may qualify for the USDA Farm Service Agency’s Direct Farm Ownership loan program as beginning farmers and ranchers. In sum, the Agricultural Act of 2014 contains beginning farmer and rancher provisions in nearly every title. This article discusses major provisions affecting beginning farmer and ranchers, but is not an exhaustive list. Readers are encouraged to consult Beginning Farmers and Ranchers, in Agricultural Act of 2014: Highlights and Implications for a complete list of provisions.

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