H. R. 562
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
January 15, 2019
Mr. Bost (for himself and Mr. Lawson of Florida) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Agriculture, and in addition to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned
To establish a Department of Agriculture loan program to support mentorship and apprenticeship opportunities for veterans of the Armed Forces to become farmers or ranchers.
This Act may be cited as the
Veterans’ Agricultural Apprenticeship Act of 2019.
Mentorship and apprenticeship program for veterans of the Armed Forces to become farmers and ranchers
The Secretary of Agriculture shall establish a program to make direct loans to farmers and ranchers who will provide mentorship and apprenticeship opportunities for veterans of the Armed Forces to learn the skills necessary to become a successful farmer or rancher.
Agreements with States
The Secretary of Agriculture shall carry out the mentorship and apprenticeship program through agreements with State departments of agriculture that will—
select veterans to participate in the program;
secure established farmers and ranchers to provide the mentorship and apprenticeship opportunities; and
make and administer direct loans to support the resulting mentorship and apprenticeship.
As a condition of a loan under the mentorship and apprenticeship program, a participating veteran must be allowed to materially and substantially participate in the operation of the farm or ranch providing the mentorship and apprenticeship opportunities.
Terms of loans
A loan under the mentorship and apprenticeship program shall be made without interest.
Term and repayment
The term of a loan under the program may not exceed one year and the loan shall be repaid after the harvest season in such installments as the Secretary may require.
Source of funds
Of the amounts appropriated for each of fiscal years 2020 through 2024 to fund operation of the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary shall use $1,000,000 each of such fiscal years to carry out this section.
Comptroller general report
Not later than March 1, 2023, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate a report evaluating the effectiveness of the mentorship and apprenticeship program in assisting veterans who participate in the program in becoming farmers and ranchers.
In this section, the term veteran means an individual who has served in the Armed Forces (as defined in section 101(10) of title 38, United States Code) and who has not previously operated a farm or ranch.