New legislation introduced this week would increase support for farmers, ranchers, and foresters with small-acreage operations across the country.
The Office of Small Farms Establishment Act would create a new office within USDA. The office would ensure that small-acreage operations have equitable access to the critical federal programs that provide farm loans, conservation funding, and crop insurance. New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker introduced the bill in the Senate, and Democrat Representatives Marilyn Strickland of Washington, Alma Adams of North Caroline and Jim McGovern introduced the bill in the House.
Small farms are essential to local and regional food supply chains, bolstering rural economic vitality, food security, and community resilience, according to the lawmakers. Although they only cover eight percent of agricultural land, they are responsible for 20 percent of all agricultural sales.
American Farmland Trust supports the legislation, as a spokesperson for the organization says, “This bill is really about ensuring equitable access to the full range of essential support” for farmers.