The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) urges proponents of sustainable agriculture to ask your congressional representatives to co-sponsor two pieces of legislation that can help set the tone for the 2012 Farm Bill debate.  Congress is expected to pick up their work on a new Farm Bill soon with Senate hearings to start in February.  We now have a prime opportunity to amplify our voices and push for legislation that includes some of sustainable agriculture’s conservation, local food, beginning farmer, and organic priorities.

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act

Ask your two Senators and Representative Co-sponsor the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act (BFROA) of 2011.  According to NSAC, BFROA would improve existing credit programs so young and beginning farmers can access the financing necessary to run their businesses. It would reauthorize important conservation programs that foster new life-long stewards of the land and encourage innovative strategies for land transfer and farm entry. The bill also invests farm bill dollars in training veterans who want to launch a ranching or farming business.

To take action on BFROA, see these instructions from NSAC.

Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act

Ask your two Senators and your Representative to co-sponsor the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act.  Local food systems not only hold potential for connecting consumers with where their food comes from, but also for boosting farm income, stimulating job creation and economic development, and meeting public health and nutrition goals.

According to NSAC, the bill will address the needs of consumers in accessing food from their local communities and the needs of farmers and ranchers producing for local and regional markets, including infrastructure and processing capabilities.  While there are growing “relocalization” efforts and local food economies are expanding across the nation, policy reforms are needed to overcome barriers and more fully capitalize on the new farming opportunities, jobs, and economic growth this sector can deliver.

To take action on this bill, see these instructions from NSAC.