May 2007


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Ewetopia <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Vermont New Farmer Network <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 2 May 2007 15:18:08 -0400
text/plain (116 lines)
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
    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*_
> <>*
> 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]
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