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Uncovering America's methamphetamine history; PA Early Intervention programs vital for child development; measuring long-term impact of the O.J. Simpson trial on media literacy.

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President Biden's name could be left off the ballot in Alabama and Ohio, the Justice Dept. mandates background checks for gun show purchases, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds moves to allow state police to arrest undocumented migrants.

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Housing advocates fear rural low-income folks who live in aging USDA housing could be forced out, small towns are eligible for grants to enhance civic participation, and North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues.

Congress Aims to Remove Land Access Barriers for Young Farmers

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Monday, June 12, 2023   

New bipartisan legislation in Congress aims to fix the number one challenge facing the next generation of American farmers - access to land.

The Increasing Land Access, Security and Opportunities Act in the U.S. House would authorize $100 million over ten years to help beginning farmers gain access to the credit needed to purchase farmland.

Holly Rippon-Butler, land policy director of the Young Farmers Coalition, said it would be a historic investment.

"This next generation really needs help," said Rippon-Butler, "because it's really difficult to break into this field and to have enough money to compete with non-farming buyers."

Rippon-Butler said close to 40% of farmland in the U.S. is expected to change ownership in the next few decades, and that federal aid is needed to ensure that land remains in agriculture.

Which, in turn, ensures a stable food supply and greater economic stability in rural areas.

A national survey of young American farmers found 75% of them do not have a farming background.

Rippon-Butler said many Black and Indigenous farmers in particular struggle with systemic barriers to getting loans or capital to purchase farmland.

She said the legislation helps ensure historically underserved communities have a fair shot.

"We feel it's incredibly important for our country and our federal government to take a stand," said Rippon-Butler, "and say, 'What we want is to support people who are going to grow their food, who are putting roots down in communities, and we want to make sure it's done equitably.'"

Rippon-Butler said improving access to land is just one important piece of the 2023 Farm Bill needed to ensure young farmers can be successful.

She said other bills aim to fund more conservation practices, climate-change resilience, and mental-health services for those working hard to keep the nation fed.




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