Rocky Mountain Farmers Union President John Stencel and other directors of the National Farmers Union (NFU) board endorsed legislation introduced Mar.12 to address out-migration in rural America.
The New Homestead Act of 2003, introduced today by Sens. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., encourages long-term investment in communities through incentives to purchase homes, start businesses, and build and access credit.
“Rural American communities are decimated by the out-migration of its citizens who take with them the ingenuity and skills learned in those communities,” Stencel said. “Our rural schools produce highly motivated young people with strong work ethics. However, rural areas lack employment opportunities for new graduates, forcing them to leave the community.”
“We need to invite rural citizens and outside businesses to grow our rural towns. The New Homestead Act of 2003 encourages the growth and rebuilding of our rural communities,” Stencel said.
Stencel said the New Homestead Act coincides with Farmers Union’s focus for the coming year, which includes improving the quality of life in rural America. One of NFU’s policies passed by convention delegates this past week in Anaheim, Calif., supports a Federal Student Loan forgiveness program for young adults who attend college and subsequently return to the farm or rural communities.