Kuster, Davis Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Reauthorize Key Resources for Farmers
**Bill includes the ‘Armed to Farm’ program for veterans transitioning to careers in agriculture**
Washington, November 17, 2021
Washington, D.C. — Today, Reps. Annie Kuster (D-NH-02) and Rodney Davis (R-IL-13), Members of the House Agriculture Committee, introduced the bipartisan Veteran and Beginning Farmer Assistance Act, which would reauthorize the Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas program (ATTRA). The ATTRA sustainable agriculture program provides practical educational resources, training, individualized technical assistance, and farmer-to-farmer learning networks that are critical as producers seek to expand and diversify their businesses while at the same time strengthening farm sustainability. This trusted knowledge base is geared toward beginning farmers and ranchers, farmer veterans, and producers who are implementing sustainable and regenerative methods on their land. Armed to Farm training, for example, has supported nearly 800 farmer veterans who are building their own agriculture businesses.
“Advancing sustainable and locally-oriented agriculture is a critical component to our rural economies, both in New Hampshire and around the country,” said Rep. Kuster. “I am tremendously proud of the ATTRA program’s work to support family farmers and help beginning farmers develop skills to build successful agricultural businesses. As the daughter and daughter-in-law of veterans, I’ve been especially gratified to see ATTRA’s Armed to Farm initiative thrive in the Granite State. Supporting our men and women in uniform when they return home is crucial and this bill will help young veterans pursue or advance their careers in agriculture. I look forward to working with Rep. Davis and our colleagues on the House Agriculture Committee to reauthorize the ATTRA program in the next Farm Bill.”
“I’m proud to co-lead the Veteran and Beginning Farmer Assistance Act with Rep. Kuster,” said Rep. Davis. “Our bipartisan bill provides important updates to the Appropriate Technology Transfer to Rural Areas (ATTRA) program, which has proved to be valuable to several projects in my district. This program will further help in providing resources, training, and technical assistance to veterans, the younger generation taking over their family farming operation, and those entering the farming profession for the first time.”
“Investing in trusted, practical resources for farmers and ranchers who are feeding our communities and growing multigenerational businesses is an investment in our future,” said Steve Thompson, executive director of the National Center for Appropriate Technology, which manages the ATTRA program under a cooperative agreement with USDA Rural Development. “For 34 years, the ATTRA sustainable agriculture program has provided a one-of-a-kind service to the entrepreneurs who grow, produce and sell sustainably made products found in corner stores across America.”
“Farmers and ranchers are facing difficult challenges brought on by extreme weather events, supply chain disruptions, and the loss of contracts and certifications, all of which have an impact on farmer mental health,” said New Hampshire Farmer and ATTRA Agricultural Specialist Andy Pressman. “The Veteran and Beginning Farmer Assistance Act is so important to helping farmers and ranchers manage toward their goals, and I am grateful for Rep. Kuster’s and Rep. Davis’s commitment to and support for our nation’s farmers and ranchers.”
The ATTRA program taps the expertise of more than 30 sustainable agriculture specialists across 10 states and is developed and managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The majority of funding for ATTRA is through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service.
The Veteran and Beginning Farmer Assistance Act would: