WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2012 - 162 agriculture groups asked Congress to support new farmers through farm bill programs yesterday in a letter addressed to ranking members of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees.

A number of national level groups are included among the signatories, including

NSAC, NFU, NFFC, Rural Coalition, American Sustainable Business Council, National Young Farmers Coalition, Intertribal Agriculture Council, National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association, Hmong National Development, Inc., National Wildlife Federation, National Immigrant Farming Association, and Union of Concerned Scientists.

The letter stresses the importance of a number of 2008 farm bill programs, including the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program and the Outreach and Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Program. Though both are included in the passed Senate and House Committee versions on the 2012 Farm Bill, their funding will not continue if Congress is not able to reach a legislative compromise by the end of the year.

“These two programs are uniquely situated to help new agricultural producers,” the groups wrote. “The programs enable community-based organizations and educational institutions to provide and strengthen local training and assistance efforts that support new farmers and ranchers. Considering the broad diversity of agriculture and regional variability this decentralized approach is smart and practical.”

The full letter and list of signatories can be accessed here.

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