Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Will you stand up for family farmers and prosperous rural and urban communities?

The chance of a lifetime can disappear

America urgently needs new farmers – and to keep current farmers on the land. At risk if you don’t act today are the dreams of farmers and aspiring farmers across this nation and the communities they strengthen.

Like any business - farmers must have access to financing to purchase things like farm equipment, fencing, animals, feed, and land itself. Without timely access to credit to purchase these necessities – farmers fail. Farm Services Agency (FSA) farm lending programs are ONLY available to farmers who cannot obtain credit from commercial sources.

After Congress slashed credit funding last spring, thousands of beginning farmers were approved for credit but unable to be funded because the USDA ran out of credit funding. Such a backlog often means the dreams of those young farmers are crushed – and the chance of a lifetime will disappear.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein is an appropriator who will vote next Wednesday on funding for affordable farm credit.

Unless Senator Feinstein hears from you by THIS Tuesday, USDA farm lending programs could once again be slashed in the Fiscal Year 2012 funding bill. This is particularly reckless because there is already a backlog of applications in California because of previous cuts!

Also at risk is The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Individual Development Account (BFRIDA) Program. This innovative program provides business education and a matched savings account to beginning farmers of modest means. Participants in existing IDA programs are 84 percent more likely to become business owners than non-participants. Several states have successful pilot intatives, but the national program has never been funded.

Will you stand up for family farmers and prosperous rural and urban communities?

It just takes a minute to call Senator Feinstein’s office at (202) 224-3841.

The Message is Simple:

· Ask Sen. Feinstein to support direct farm ownership loans at the program level of $600 million, and direct farm operating loans at program level of $1.05 billion. Farmers need access to affordable credit for the purchase of land, livestock and equipment and for annual operating expenses.

· Also ask her to support the Beginning Farmer Individual Development Account program at the Farm Bill-authorized level of $5 million for fiscal year 2012. Existing IDA programs have a proven track record of increasing the success of new businesses.

Thank you for making this quick call, which is crucial to protecting affordable farm credit and helping beginning farmers!