December 11, 2018

Final Farm Bill Includes Luján’s Priorities for Land Grants and Acequias

Agreed-upon package also includes support for the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Program and language that strengthens the Value-Added Producer Grant Program, both programs championed by the Congressman

Today, Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) announced that the Conference Report for H.R. 2, the final Farm Bill that will be voted on in the House, includes several of his priorities.

“I am pleased that, in addition to rejecting the House GOP’s cuts to SNAP, this final Farm Bill includes several provisions that will help New Mexico’s farmers and ranchers maintain their quality of life.

“Specifically, the final Farm Bill includes language I authored that will enable acequias to access essential federal funds. This, coupled with language opening up access to conservation programs for land grant communities, will ensure that New Mexicans can continue to carry on traditions that have sustained our way of life for generations.

“This Farm Bill also builds on my bipartisan Growing Value-Added Economies Act, providing strong mandatory funding and pathways for expanded outreach and technical assistance through the Value-Added Agriculture Program, a proven way to help farmer-led businesses succeed.

“Ensuring that our next generation of farmers and ranchers and our nation’s historically underserved producers gain access to resources continues to be one of my top priorities. That is why I am pleased the final Farm Bill agreement includes support for the Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach (FOTO) program, which is a down payment on our next generation of farmers and ranchers.”

“It is important that, moving forward, we continue to invest in our farmers and ranchers, expand access to broadband in rural areas, increase food security and reduce hunger in our communities, and provide for the many other important services that the Farm Bill supports.”

H.R. 2 includes the following priorities championed by Congressman Luján:

  • Acequias – The bill includes language authored by Congressman Luján that would enable acequias to access funding from federal conservation resources.
  • Land Grants – The bill includes language supported by Congressman Luján that would enable land grants to access funding from federal conservation resources.
  • 2501/Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Program – In September 2018, the Congressman led a bipartisan letter supported by over 100 regional and national organizations and over 50 Members of Congress that called for a new Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach (FOTO) program by combining the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) and the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers Program. The program ensures that the federal government has the resources to train the next generation of producers and help our nation’s historically underserved producers access USDA’s credit, commodity, conservation, and other programs and services. The final Farm Bill includes $435 million in combined funding for over 10 years for the FOTO Program.
  • Growing Value-Added Economies – Earlier this year, Congressman Luján introduced the bipartisan Growing Value-Added Economies Act, which strengthens and provides mandatory funding for the Value-Added Producer Grant Program (VAPG). The VAPG program promotes small-scale entrepreneurship, which is a proven economic development strategy that works in rural communities. The Farm Bill now provides strong mandatory funding to support the VAPG program and provides pathways for expanded outreach and technical assistance.

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Lauren Dart, lauren.dart@mail.house.gov
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