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May 2007

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Vermont New Farmer Network <[log in to unmask]>
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From:
Ewetopia <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Wed, 2 May 2007 15:18:08 -0400
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Vermont New Farmer Network <[log in to unmask]>
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Considering that you can't generally buy a farm for less than  $200,000 
(which is the current limit on direct ownership loans) in New England, the 
change to a maximum of $500,000 is long overdue--something that I have been 
petitioning for myself since 1999.  Also mentioned in the release is cutting 
the interest rates on down payment loans in half.  Especially now that 
interest rates are likely to climb in the next few years, I think these are 
welcome changes if passsed, and will help some beginner farmers to move into 
farm ownership positions who could not otherwise do so.
    But, I am not so sure about the rest of the proposal, especially "the 
direct payments to crop producers"? --Certainly isn't a "market based" 
approach that you would expect from a Republican, free market 
administration, and will do little to benefit most beginner farmers in the 
Northeast.
    As far as the reserving 10% for beginner farmers in  conservation 
programs, I think the devil is in the details in how they implement this 
(including what they would do if a state has not used all of that 10%--or 
wants to go over that).  My experience with these programs, especially EQIP, 
is that the problem with the programs are that they often favor large 
capital improvements (such as big manure lagoons) in funding priorities, 
which favor larger farms in general.  As the Secretary points out in the 
release, this often makes Beginner farmers less competitive since they tend 
to have smaller farms.  But, I would rather see them correct the main 
problem in order to provide more support to all small farms, rather than 
just give a small piece of the pool to beginner farmers.  Also, this all 
becomes less of an issue if more $ are actually allocated to conservation 
programs in general, so there would be competition between small farms and 
large farms for conservation $--the most logical source for this revenue is 
LESS "direct payments to crop producers" (subsidies).  If Congress doesn't 
allocate enough $ in the Conservation programs (such as supporting CSP), it 
won't be a very meaningful approach.  I also think the most significant 
approach to helping Beginner farmers with conservation programs is already 
in place--when USDA began cost-share funding 90% of EQIP/AMA, etc projects 
for Beginner Farmers a couple years ago instead of the usual 70% cost share 
that reduced the barrier to Beginner farmers be able to access these 
programs substantially (provided that practices proposed are not hugely 
capital intensive).  Hopefully, that stays in place.

Mike Ghia

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Debra Heleba" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2007 2:19 PM
Subject: [Fwd: [statecontacts] Secretary Johanns Discusses USDA Farm Bill 
Proposals for Beginning Farmers]


> Hello,
> Thought you might be interested in learning about proposed farm bill 
> changes that affect new/beginning farmers. Deb
>
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: [statecontacts] Secretary Johanns Discusses USDA Farm Bill 
> Proposals for Beginning Farmers
> Date: Wed, 2 May 2007 11:25:40 -0400
> From: McAleer, Patricia <[log in to unmask]>
> Reply-To: McAleer, Patricia <[log in to unmask]>
> To: statecontacts <[log in to unmask]>
>
>
>
>
>
> *Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns described in great detail a broad 
> package of proposed changes to several titles of the farm bill that will 
> help future generations of farmers and ranchers become established in 
> production agriculture. *
>
> *Key elements of the beginning farmer and rancher proposals include: an 
> increase in direct payments to major crop producers; targeting 10 percent 
> of conservation payments to beginning farmers and ranchers; reducing the 
> interest rate under the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Down Payment Loan 
> Program and doubling the maximum loan amount among other enhancements; and 
> creating a combined maximum of $500,000 for direct operating loans and 
> direct ownership loans. *
>
> *Visit the *_*USDA Newsroom*_ 
> <http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/%21ut/p/_s.7_0_A/7_0_1OB?navtype=MA&navid=NEWSROOM>* 
> to read the full release (April 17) and to learn more about the major 
> components of the proposals to assist beginning farmers and ranchers. *
>
> Patricia McAleer
>
> Program Specialist
> Economic and Community Systems, CSREES, USDA
> Phone: 202 /720-2635
> Fax: 202 / 690-3162
> E-mail: [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
>
>
>
> ---
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>
> -- 
> Debra Heleba
> Land Link Vermont Coordinator
> University of Vermont Center for Sustainable Agriculture
> 63 Carrigan Drive
> Burlington, Vermont 05405
> v 802.656.0233
> f 802.656.8874
> [log in to unmask]
> www.uvm.edu/landlinkvt
>
>
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