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Senate Committees Review Farm Bill Programs
USAgNet - 04/11/2016

The Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing last week to discuss the opportunities available to military veterans who return to civilian life with a desire to explore farming and agriculture as a way to transition into their post-military careers. USDA has in the past funded similar efforts in the form of farm loans to help and encourage veterans to purchase the land necessary to begin small-scale farming, and to further educate them regarding conservation programs, financial and business planning, and risk management.

The hearing featured testimony from USDA's Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison Lannon Baccam as well as by witnesses involved in programs which work to incorporate veterans into agriculture, including the Soldier Agricultural Vocation Education program in Kansas, and the Central Oregon Veterans Ranch. The Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy also held a hearing to review USDA Rural Development programs authorized in the Farm Bill and to get input from industry stakeholders about how the programs have been working. USDA Rural Development Undersecretary Lisa Mensah testified during the hearing and indicated that the Department administers a loan portfolio of $212 billion across its portfolio of business, energy, housing, and other programs.

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