Budzinski Applauds USDA Grants for Underserved Farmers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski (IL-13) applauded news that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has selected the first recipients of the Increasing Land, Capital and Market Access Program — a new program aimed at supporting young, beginning and underserved farmers. As a part of the USDA’s announcement, the 2020 Farmers Cooperative received funding to support historically underserved farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. 

As a way to build momentum on this effort, Budzinski recently introduced the bipartisan Increasing Land Access, Security and Opportunities Act to expand the Land, Capital and Market Access Program and improve pathways for funding to reach the next generation of family farmers. Budzinski is working with Representatives Zach Nunn (R-IA-03), Joe Courtney (D-CT-02) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) to have the legislation included in the upcoming Farm Bill. 

“As the average age of American family farmers approaches 60 years old, we have to find ways to bring the next generation into agriculture,” said Congresswoman Budzinski. “I’m thrilled to see the USDA funding important initiatives to support young, beginning and underserved farmers, and I’m proud to be working to bring improvements and additional funding to this critical program. By including my bipartisan legislation in the upcoming Farm Bill we can help ensure that family farming remains viable for generations to come.” 

Nearly half of U.S. farmland is on the brink of changing ownership over the next two decades.  The 2023 Farm Bill is an important opportunity to address the challenges keeping land out of reach for the next generation of farmers. The Increasing Land Access, Security and Opportunities Act would address this challenge by: 

  • Making funding available to entities that focus on strengthening land, capital and market access for historically underserved farmers. 
  • Providing funds for services that help farmers and ranchers acquire land, cover closing costs and down payments, secure clear titles, make site improvements and access training and technical assistance. 
  • Prioritizing projects that give direct financial assistance to farmers, involve collaborative partnerships and transition farmland from existing producers to the next generation. 
  • Establishing a committee of stakeholders to develop a process for evaluating applications and distributing funds effectively. 

The Increasing Land Access, Security and Opportunities Act has been endorsed by the National Young Farmers Coalition, the American Farmland Trust, the National Family Farm Coalition, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and the Rural Coalition.

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