Budzinski, Nunn, Courtney, Spanberger Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Improve Young Farmers’ Access to Land   

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representatives Nikki Budzinski (D-IL-13), Zach Nunn (R-IA-03), Joe Courtney (D-CT-02) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) introduced the Increasing Land Access, Security and Opportunities Act — bipartisan legislation to help bring the next generation into family farming. 

In 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched a program aimed at supporting underserved producers through the Increasing Land, Capital and Market Access Program. The Increasing Land Access, Security and Opportunities Act expands this program, authorizing funding at $100 million per year for the next five years and improving pathways for funding to reach young and beginning farmers. 

“With the average age of American family farmers approaching 60 years old, it’s critical that we provide support to help bring the next generation into agriculture,” said Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski. “I’m proud to introduce bipartisan legislation that will help young and beginning farmers gain access to land, markets and capital — the biggest barriers for new and underserved farmers. I’m so grateful to Representatives Zach Nunn and Joe Courtney for partnering with me in this bipartisan effort, and I look forward to working together to get this legislation included in the 2023 Farm Bill.”

“In Iowa, agriculture is the backbone of our state, and our farmers are the backbone of agriculture. We feed and fuel the entire world because of the essential work our farmers do,” said Congressman Zach Nunn. “I am proud to champion this bipartisan legislation to ensure young and starting farmers have the tools they need to access the credit necessary to purchase farmland. Young Americans who are willing to do the essential work to feed and fuel our world should be commended and supported however we can help.”

“Farmers across eastern Connecticut have repeatedly told me that acquiring affordable land is one of the greatest barriers to starting and continuing to farm. This is particularly true for young and under-resourced farmers. The Land Access, Security, and Opportunities Act will give farmers—including shellfish producers—a better shot at acquiring land and building their farm. I look forward to working with my colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans, to include this proposal in the 2023 Farm Bill and deliver the resources that many farmers in my community, including Susan Mitchell, have long advocated for,” said Congressman Joe Courtney.

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. 

“Investing in secure, equitable access to land for farmers is an imperative insurance policy for all other public dollars spent by Congress in the 2023 Farm Bill,” said David Howard, Policy Development Director at the National Young Farmers Coalition. “This is the moment for Congress to take action and ensure that the 2023 Farm Bill delivers material benefits for historically underserved farmers, ranchers, and forest owners striving to establish and grow their operations. We are grateful for the leadership of Representatives Budzinski, Nunn, and Courtney in driving this effort.”

“As the average age of farmers continues to rise, our nation faces an unprecedented generational transfer of farmland. Meanwhile, beginning and historically marginalized farmers are struggling to access farmland and the resources they need to grow viable farm businesses,” said Tim Fink, Policy Director for American Farmland Trust. “Today’s introduction of the bipartisan Increasing Land Access, Security, and Opportunities Act reflects a growing understanding that these challenges are interrelated, and that addressing them requires urgent investment and creative, community-led solutions. We applaud Representatives Budzinski, Nunn, and Courtney for introducing this bill and working to ensure that the next Farm Bill supports equitable opportunities for historically underserved producers to not just farm, but to thrive.” 

A one-pager on the legislation can be found here.

Full text of the bill can be found here. 

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