To expand and improve opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers, and for other purposes. Read More


This bill was introduced on Oct 14, 2011, in a previous session of Congress, but was not passed.


Date Introduced
Oct 14, 2011


Bill Text


To expand and improve opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


(a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2011''. (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents of this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents. TITLE I--CONSERVATION

Subtitle A--Conservation Reserve Program

Sec. 101. Extension of conservation reserve program. Sec. 102. Contracts. Subtitle B--Farmland Protection Program

Sec. 111. Farmland protection program. Subtitle C--Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Sec. 121. Establishment and administration of environmental quality incentives program. Sec. 122. Conservation innovation grants and payments. Subtitle D--Funding and Administration

Sec. 131. Funding of conservation programs under Food Security Act of 1985. Sec. 132. Assistance to certain farmers or ranchers for conservation access. Sec. 133. Comprehensive conservation planning. TITLE II--CREDIT

Subtitle A--Farm Ownership Loans

Sec. 201. Direct farm ownership experience requirement. Sec. 202. Conservation loan and loan guarantee program. Sec. 203. Loan terms for down payment loan program. Sec. 204. Definition of qualified beginning farmer or rancher. Subtitle B--Operating Loans

Sec. 211. Young beginning farmer or rancher microloans. Subtitle C--Administrative Provisions

Sec. 221. Beginning farmer and rancher individual development accounts pilot program. Sec. 222. Transition to private commercial or other sources of credit. Sec. 223. Loan authorization levels. Sec. 224. Direct loans for beginning farmers and ranchers. Sec. 225. Borrower training. TITLE III--RURAL DEVELOPMENT

Sec. 301. Value-added producer grants....

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State: CA

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Organizations Supporting

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Agriculture is a growing and vibrant sector of our nation’s economy, yet farming and ranching as a career choice may be one of the most difficult occupations to enter. Despite significant barriers to entry, dedicated people want to farm or ranch and see great opportunities in agriculture. We need a national strategy and commitment to support beginning farmer and ranchers entering agriculture. With an aging farm population, now is the time to nurture new agriculture start-ups. The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2011 [H.R. 3236 / S.1850] is a comprehensive bill intended for inclusion in the 2012 Farm Bill that highlights federal programs that help support economic opportunities for young and beginning farmers and ranchers. The bill addresses many of the barriers that new agriculture entrepreneurs face such as limited access to land and markets, hyper land price inflation, high input costs, and a lack of sufficient support networks. The Act is a bipartisan and bicameral bill introduced in the House by Representatives Tim Walz (D-MN-1) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE-1), and in the Senate by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), along with nine original co-sponsors. The bill is a result of strategic collaboration among many individuals and farmer advocacy organizations, including the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and many NSAC member groups, including Land Stewardship Project, Center for Rural Affairs, National Young Farmers’ Coalition, California FarmLink, and Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance, among others.

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Bill Summary

To expand and improve opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers, and for other purposes.

H.R. 3235 Education and Energy Act of 2011 H.R. 3237 SOAR Technical Corrections Act