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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
5/23/2007--Introduced. Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2007 - Amends the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 to make beginning farmer and rancher development grants available for energy conservation and organic and value-added alternative production. Caps annual grant amounts and permits consecutive grants to the same recipient. Sets forth grant evaluation criteria. Extends grant authority.
Amends the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to direct the Secretary of Agriculture to establish the new farmer individual development accounts pilot program under which: (1) an eligible participant shall deposit an agreed upon amount into an account which will be matched at 300% by the program ($9,000 annual cap); and (2) expenditures shall be used for specified farming purposes, including purchases of farmland, equipment and other assets, breeding stock, and timber, nut, or fruit trees.
Revises: (1) the down payment loan program; and (2) the beginning farmer or rancher contract land sales program.
Makes socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers eligible for inventory sales preferences on real property acquired by the Secretary through security servicing.
Increases direct and operating agricultural loan limits. Requires the Secretary to establish a plan to transition agricultural loan borrowers to private credit sources.
Increases fiscal year aggregate loan and specified set-aside levels. Makes socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers eligible for certain loan set-asides, and extends such set-aside authority.
Includes among soil and water conservation grant priority recipients: (1) beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers; and (2) owners or tenants who use the loans to convert to sustainable or organic agricultural production systems.
Amends the Food Security Act of 1985 with respect to the conservation reserve program to permit the Secretary to modify a contract to facilitate land transition from a retired or retiring owner or operator to a beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher in order to return some or all of the land into production using sustainable grazing or crop production methods. Sets forth transition options for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers.
Makes socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers eligible for cost sharing under the conservation security program and the environmental quality incentives program.
Amends the Competitive, Special, and Facilities Research Grant Act to include among "high priority research" areas of concern to beginning farmers or ranchers.
Amends the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 to include farm transfer options for beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers among priority grant areas.
Amends the Federal Crop Insurance Act to provide emphasis on risk management education for beginning, immigrant, retiring, or socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers.