Kinderhook, NY – Congressman John Faso (NY-19) and Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster (NH-2) today introduced bipartisan legislation called the Veterans and Beginning Farmers Assistance Act, which reauthorizes the Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas program (ATTRA).
“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.”
“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.”
Young farmer and co-organizer for the Hudson Valley Young Farmers Coalition Andrew Pezzullo added, "ATTRA is the most vetted and reliable source for farmers, and it's the first resource I turn to when I'm looking to improve my own vegetable cropping systems. I found my first farm job on ATTRA, and next year when I launch my own farm business, I'll post my job opportunities there."
"ATTRA has served our nation's farmers for thirty years through training and technical assistance. In addition, we have been honored to assist military veterans as they enter farming careers through our ATTRA-supported Armed to Farm program, including trainings specifically for New York veterans. We have seen veterans start and expand farming operations, enter new markets, and contribute to their local economies. We look forward to continuing this work for New York farmers, and all the farmers and veterans across the country," said Margo Hale, who serves as the Southeast Regional Director and Armed to Farm Director for the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT).
This Veterans and Beginning Farmers Assistance Act reauthorizes ATTRA. This grant program, which is set to expire next year, helps veterans returning from war transition to civilian life by way of farming, 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.