Reps. Kuster and Faso Introduce Bipartisan Veteran Farmers Legislation
(Concord, NH) – Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Congressman John Faso (NY-19) introduced the Veterans and Beginning Farmers Assistance Act, bipartisan legislation which reauthorizes the Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas program (ATTRA). This grant program, which is set to expire next year, helps veterans returning from war transition to civilian life by way of farming. It also assists beginning farmers in starting their new agricultural endeavors, and provides valuable resources to current conventional and organic farmers who wish to farm more profitably and sustainably.
“Farming and local agriculture is an important component of our economy and identity in New Hampshire and communities throughout the country,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “Supporting our men and women in uniform when they return home is crucial and this legislation helps young veterans pursue or advance their careers in agriculture. This is a win for our veterans and a win for our economy. I look forward to working with Congressman Faso to advance our legislation to offer veterans and beginning farmers the resources to succeed.”
“The average age of a farmer is almost 60 years old while the post-9/11 veteran unemployment rate is at more than 4.5%.” said Congressman Faso. “This commonsense piece of legislation addresses these two problems and ensures that this program continues to serve our veterans and farmers. A veteran returning from service, a young farmer breaking into the industry, and those who wish to farm more sustainably should have reliable resources at their fingertips. I teamed up with Congresswoman Kuster to introduce this bipartisan bill because when it comes to veterans and the farm economy, there is no time for partisan politics.”
“The ATTRA Program is dedicated to helping farmers and educators build resilient food systems,” said Andy Pressman, Northeast Office Regional Director, NCAT/ ATTRA Program. “Our work with beginning farmers and farmer veterans focuses not just on production practices, but also the importance of business and whole-farm planning, in order to manage towards being a successful farm operation. Having the opportunity to conduct the Armed to Farm Program in New Hampshire and other states throughout the country that we have not had the opportunity to reach yet will provide valuable trainings to veterans as they transition in to a career in agriculture. We look forward to continuing to help farmers overcome challenges as well as sharing the successes they are having with other farmers.”