In July 2021, USDA issued a Request for Information (RFI) to solicit public input into its strategy to improve meat and poultry processing infrastructure and will hold targeted stakeholder meetings and other public engagement to better understand the needs, gaps, and barriers to fair and competitive meat processing markets.
USDA received nearly 450 comments in response to the Request for Information.
This funding will be delivered through a variety of programs. Some are already underway and others will be developed soon.
Legislation introduced in the US House aims to ease the financial burden on young farmers. The Young Farmer Success Act would help young farmers manage student loan debt by making them eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
Over 40% of America’s 895 million acres of agricultural land is expected to change hands over the next two decades as older farmers retire, according to the American Farmland Trust. But steep costs create a barrier for the next generation to take the baton and keep a trillion-dollar industry running.
Older farmers are leaving the industry faster than young farmers are coming in — at a rate of 4 to 1 — and while some older farmers have heirs, many do not. MiFarmLink.org, a new web-based program, is moving across the state to help shepherd land to the next generation of farmers.
Yes, Michigan State University (MSU) once again accepts soil test samples from Michiganders, partnering with Fort Wayne-based A&L Great Lakes Laboratories Inc. to test soils and make recommendations within 10 days.
Program moves across state to continue preserving Michigan farms and farming communities
A new online platform will help better connect farmland to beginning farmers in Michigan.
“Our biggest hurdle is making sure we do have properties listed on the site.”
MiFarmLink Coordinator Sam Stokes tells Brownfield smaller parcels can be just as attractive to beginning farmers who might not have the capital for a large investment.
“Most beginning farmers don’t need or want 100 acres, so many people who are getting into farming right now are wanting to do market vegetables, regenerative agriculture,” she shares.
Stokes says the goal of MiFarmLink is to make sure farmland stays in agriculture and additional resources are meant to support a vibrant ag community.
“There are resources on how to write grants, there are resources to learn how to write a business plan or do value-added products,” she explains.
Stokes says some of the current listings are turnkey businesses or from farmers wanting to serve as mentors to new owners through a transition processes.
The MiFarmLink project previously supported land-linking efforts in northern and west Michigan and is now housed within the Washtenaw County Conservation District with support from private foundations to connect farmers statewide.
Many statutes and laws result in limiting local government’s ability to adopt and enforce regulations. Most are straightforward, but the Right to Farm Act preemption is confusing, changing and only preempts local regulation of certain things.
On March 17, 2023, USDA Rural Development announced the availability of at least $31 million in total funding for Value-Added Producer (VAPG) projects and $3 million for Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant (SDGG). The application window to apply is now open.
The Great Lakes Farm Navigator Network looks to support farm families in four states by helping farmland owners transfer their land across generations and connecting landowners with new farmers looking for land, while expanding conservation practices.