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Faso bill would extend funding for young farmers, military veterans

Sep 06, 2017 7:10 am

Richard Moody is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media U.S. Rep. John Faso has introduced legislation to reauthorize funding to help veterans and young farmers get a start in agriculture. The measure would extend the federal Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas program that provides grants for fledgling farmers and veterans looking to enter farming. The program is set to expire next year. “The average age of a farmer is almost 60 ... while the post-9/11 veteran unemployment rate is at more than 4.5 percent,” Faso said. “This common-sense piece of legislation addresses these two problems and ensures that this program continues to serve our veterans and farmers. ....” According to data cited by Moody, in 2007 the average age of a farm operator in Columbia County was 58, with 181 out of the 554 farmers surveyed older than 65. Gary Flaherty, executive director of the Columbia County Veterans Services Department, said he supports the legislation. “We definitely need younger farmers to come up through the ranks,” Flaherty said. “If the legislation passes, my office would be happy to promote the program.” Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.