Legislature: Standing Up for Family Farmers!‏

At the Rural Caucus & Strategy Session, small town Oregonians came together for a session on “Debt & Economic Refugees.”  We discussed strategies for fighting back – from foreclosure resistance strategies to innovative policy approaches that address student and farmer debt.  The energy in this session was high, many expressing hunger for direct action and bold next steps.

As we work on strategies for moving forward and pushing back against Wall Street greed, there are some simple actions we can take right now.

The Oregon legislature is considering a bill to provide some much needed relief to our straining network of Oregon family farms. House Bill 2700, or “Aggie Bonds,” would provide financial support to early stage farmers and we hope will come up for a vote this week.

Can you take a moment to contact your legislator and ask them to support Oregon’s family farmers by passing HB 2700? Send an email directly to your legislators or get your legislators contact information.

Aggie Bonds is a simple, low-cost step the state could take to make it possible for community banks to provide access to credit needed by the next generation of farmers.  Passing this bill would authorize the state to participate in an already existing federal program aimed at helping early stage farmers get the start-up money they need to successfully launch their businesses. It’s a win-win for our family farmers and for our local community banks who do much of the lending to family farmers.  Read more about Aggie Bonds here.

Seventeen other states have already opted in to the Aggie Bonds program, and it is time for Oregon to do the same. House Bill 2700 is, at this time, scheduled for a vote in the Ways and Means Natural Resources Committee on Monday at 1 pm  After that it will go to full Ways and Means for a vote and, if all goes well, to the House and Senate floor.  We expect all of this to happen this week.

Take a moment to contact your legislator about Aggie Bonds (HB 2700).  And if your legislator is a member of Ways and Means your call is that much more important.

Then let me know back if you sent an email or made a call by emailing cara@rop.org.

ROP is a member of the Oregon Grows Partnership.  To read more about the coalition and priority legislation visit: http://oregongrows.wordpress.com/.

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