House and Senate members recently announced the introduction of the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2011 [H.R. 3236], a comprehensive bill intended for inclusion in the 2012 Farm Bill that highlights federal programs that help support economic opportunities for young and beginning farmers and ranchers. The bill addresses many of the barriers that new agriculture entrepreneurs face such as limited access to land and markets, hyper land price inflation, high input costs, and a lack of sufficient support networks.
The Beginning Farmer Rancher Opportunity Act is a bipartisan and bicameral bill introduced in the House by Representatives Tim Walz (D-MN) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), and an identical companion bill will be introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and other members of the Senate Agriculture Committee in the Senate next week once they return from their current recess. There are additional members of both houses that have indicated their support for the bill and will likely be signing on as co-sponsors shortly after introduction.