As the average age of farmers rises and the nation faces an unprecedented transfer of land to the next generation, we must invest in programs that support retiring and aspiring farmers in succession planning, farm transfer, and farmland access and ownership. Those investments must also recognize and reverse the generations of systemic discrimination and dispossession of farmland faced by BIPOC producers that further compound these barriers 

Farmers and ranchers also need support to start and grow thriving businesses. Business technical assistance (BTA) includes one-to-one services offered to farm and food businesses by NGOs, state agencies, consultants, and extension services. Customized to meet individual business needs, these services include coaching, skill development, and planning related to finances, labor, marketing and business strategies, farm transfer and succession, and access to land and capital. BTA is effective at supporting local economies, and is critical to addressing historic and systemic barriers facing farmers and food entrepreneurs of color.  

Finally, it is critical that farms of all production types, locations, and sizes are adequately served by USDA programs and other critical resources. Small acreage farms—those with fewer than 180 acres—represent 70% of all farms in the U.S. but only receive 12% of government payments. These small farms support rural economic vitality, food security, and community resilience, while bolstering local and regional food supply chains. The Farm Bill presents an opportunity to ensure that a diverse new generation of farmers and ranchers are ready to take the reins. AFT recommends that Congress: