Right now our country has the opportunity to support small farms for the next five years by passing an equitable Farm Bill. I am a beginning farmer, raising grass-fed beef in Athens at MoSo Farm. My fiancé and I want to make farming a career and hope that it can someday support our household of two. But three years into our business, we both still work full-time and struggle to turn a profit. To be an Appalachian farm is to be a small farm. And small farms struggle to make farming a viable livelihood within a system that prioritizes industrial agriculture.
This is why I traveled to Washington D.C. earlier this month with my coworkers at Rural Action, the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association and a group of Ohio farmers to meet with hundreds of other farmers across the country advocating for a just Farm Bill. The Farm Bill, passed every five years, is a package of legislation that has a huge impact on the food we grow, eat, and have access to.
While meeting with the offices of Sen. J.D. Vance, Rep. Joyce Beatty, Rep. Greg Landsman, Rep. Bill Johnson, and Rep. Troy Balderson, our group asked Congress to cap farm subsidies that reward industrial production and concentrate wealth and resources.
One in three farmers is over the age of 65. Over the last 15 years, the number of beginning farmers has decreased by 9%. But young people are interested in farming! The barriers to accessing land and the difficulty of supporting a household on farming keep them from living out their agrarian dreams. Our members of Congress must pass a Farm Bill that supports community-led land access initiatives and training and capital assistance for beginning farmers.
Now is the time to raise your voice by asking your members of Congress to pass a Farm Bill that supports Appalachia’s small farms.
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