Lawmakers are agreeing on one thing on the 2023 Farm Bill: Importance of Title 12

The Farm Bill’s last title is one of the least discussed, but crafters of the bill say it remains key for the future of U.S. agriculture.

Title 12, the USDA’s Operations and Outreach title, is usually overshadowed by debate on the safety net, conservation, nutrition, and other titles. House Ag Subcommittee Chair Jahana Hayes recently pointed out how important the Farm Bill’s last title really is.

“As of 2017, more than 1/3 of America’s farmers were over the age of 65 or older. The average age of producers in the U.S. is about 58, up from previous years in the agricultural census, a counting trend we have been seeing for some time.”

Hayes stresses the importance of outreach through USDA programs, especially for new, beginning, and socially disadvantaged producers.

“Supporting our new and beginning farmers, who are in the first 10 years of operation, is key to cultivating the future of American agriculture.”

Hayes says encouraging more people of color, women, and veterans to go into farming will make a strong ag system for years to come. Ranking Member of the House Ag Committee, Glenn GT Thompson agrees.

“As we prepare for the next Farm Bill, it is important to ensure young, beginning, socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers know about and have access to USDA’s programs and the benefits they provide.”

Ag lawmakers say while millions have been invested in outreach programs, they hope to keep the momentum going into the next Farm Bill.