U.S. Reps. Jeff Fortenberry, Tim Walz introduce bill aimed at encouraging young people to become farmers, ranchers as average age of U.S. farmer now 57; bill would provide beginning farmers with better access to USDA savings, loan programs

LINCOLN, Nebraska , October 28, 2011 () – Congressman Jeff Fortenberry has co-authored legislation that seeks to encourage more young people to get into farming and ranching.

The Nebraska Republican and Minnesota Democrat Rep. Tim Walz have introduced the measure, dubbed the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2011.

Walz and Fortenberry are both members of the House Agriculture Committee.

Fortenberry says the average age of the American farmer continues to increase and is now at 57. He says it has become critical for "the well-being of rural America that young people engage in farming and agricultural entrepreneurship."

The measure would, among other things, provide beginning farmers and ranchers with improved access to USDA savings and loan programs.

Fortenberry's office says companion legislation will be introduced in the U.S. Senate in the coming weeks.

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