Kind Ideas: Making Family Farms the Priority
For the City Times
Congressman Ron Kind will be sending a biweekly column called “Kind Ideas,” focused on issues important to Western and Central Wisconsin. His first Kind Ideas column focuses on the importance of family farms:
Representing one of the most productive farming regions in the country, I’m committed to family farmers here in Wisconsin. Family farms are the backbone of Wisconsin’s economy and the lifeblood of our rural communities.
One of my top priorities in Congress is reforming our nation’s agriculture policies. I’ve worked to remove unnecessary regulations to make it easier for young people to help out on their family farms, and I’ve fought to fix our commodity programs so that they benefit family farms rather than big agribusinesses.
One of the challenges facing many of the farmers that I talk to is making sure that this strong tradition of Wisconsin family farming continues, and that younger Wisconsinites are interested in farming. One area where Congress actually came together was in the passage of the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, which will help ensure that the next generation of farmers can carry on Wisconsin’s proud farming tradition. This program supports farmer development and education through workshops, training, and technical assistance programs to help beginning farmers establish and manage successful farms.
An important value that Wisconsin’s family farmers also try to pass on to their kids, and that I’ve tried to pass on to my boys, is good stewardship of the land. Last year, I was proud of the fact that we secured a designation of the entire Mississippi River as a Critical Conservation Area under the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program. This designation will bolster our farm economy, make voluntary assistance available to family farmers and give conservation groups the tools they need to continue protecting this indispensable natural resource.
I’m proud of the fact that Republicans and Democrats have come together to support family farms in the past, and I’m hopeful that we can all work together over the coming year to make family farms a priority. It’s time for Congress to stop the bickering and get to work, and I think everyone agrees on Wisconsin commonsense values like developing the next generation of family farmers, conserving our rivers and wetlands, and making sure that the government isn’t the problem when it comes to promoting our agriculture.
Family farms should be a priority for Congress. More work needs to be done to make sure that Wisconsin’s family farms continue to thrive, and that’s what I’ll be focused on in the coming year. Thank you to all our family farmers who employ our workers, feed the world, and uphold Wisconsin’s farming tradition.