Taxes and (new) Farming

Brent Budowsky, a blogger pundit at thehill.com mentions this below-the-fold about the Supercommittee:

This may make Grover Norquist happy, but a huge majority of voters agrees with Democrats about ending tax cuts for the wealthiest.

Tax cuts for the wealthiest, attacking Social Security, attacking Medicare — this is how Republicans plan to campaign in 2012?

That feels like laying it out 1-2-3. There are moments to seize and this sure feels like one.

***

Meanwhile, i read today of three important congressional bills on sustainable agriculture, necessary for ‘new farmers in order to have a new farm system’:

GO FARM (the Growing Opportunities for Agriculture and Responding to Markets) Act of 2011, introduced by Sen. Casey (PA-D) and Harkin (IA-D). Read about it here.
Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act, introduced by Sen. Brown (OH-D)
Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act, introduced by Sen. Harkin (IA-D).

Lifting directly from the page on sustainableagriculture.net:

about GO FARM …

The aim of this bill is to create jobs in the agriculture industry by connecting small farms with local markets, and encouraging production of food for local communities.

“Local farms are job creators in our communities,” said Senator Casey.  “This bill will support small farms in Pennsylvania, which are an essential source of economic activity and are vital to getting healthy, local food from farm to table.”

Under the proposals put forth in this bill, USDA would be given the authority to establish a loan program that would provide funding to rural organizations through a competitive grants process.  These organizations would in turn establish a revolving loan fund in order to make small, low-interest loans to producers who grow crops for local markets like schools, grocery stores, and farmers markets.

Each rural organization that receives funding under this program would be responsible for providing matching funds, and meeting the following loan program objectives:

  • To assist local producers in meeting new market opportunities;
  • To provide technical support to local farm businesses and market gardens; and
  • To recruit, educate, and assist local producers to advance local farming opportunities to meet local needs.

Loan priority would be given to small and medium-sized producers, socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, specialty crop producers, and to address the nutritional needs of underserved areas.

about the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act: strives to (a) boost income and opportunities, (b) improve local and regional food system infrastructure and markets, (c) expand access to healthy foods for consumers, and (d) enhance agricultural research and extension.

Local and regional agriculture is a major economic driver in the farm economy.  There are now more than 7,000 farmers markets throughout the United States—a 150 percent increase since 2000, direct to consumer sales have accounted for more than $1.2 billion in annual revenues.  Now, on the heels of that expansion, we are witnessing the rapid growth of local and regional food markets that have scaled up beyond direct marketing.  Together these markets represent important new job growth and economic development.

about the Beginning Farmer Bill:

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.

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