Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the appointment of the Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers. The Committee will advise the Secretary on ways to develop programs to provide coordinated assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers while maximizing new farming and ranching opportunities. They will also work to enhance and expand federal-state partnerships to provide financing for beginning farmers and ranchers.

"Beginning farmers are a key to 21st-century agriculture and I look forward to working with this committee to help ensure that," Vilsack said. "These new agricultural entrepreneurs are the cornerstone to a vibrant rural America and to the future of all of agriculture. I will look to this committee to provide guidance to me as we prepare recommendations for the 2012 Farm bill." The eleven new members of the Committee are:

Luciano Alvarado of Fayetteville, N.C.

Bryan Barrett of Gering, Neb.

Francis Benton-Gibson of Manning, S.C.

Deborah Cavenaugh-Grant of Greenview, Ill.

Duncan Chembezi of Madison, Ala.

Dalton Henry of Manhattan, Kan.

Barbara Norman of Covert, Mich.

Rebecca Padilla of Clovis, N.M.

Anusuya Rangarajan of Freeville, N.Y.

Peter Scheffert of Northfield, Minn.

Maykla Yang of Carthage, N.C.

The eight incumbent members of the Committee are:

Ray Ellenberger of Madison, Wis.

Lisa Koester of Wadesville, Ind.

Karen Kritz of Pemberton, N.J.

Ryan Luter of Morison, Okla.

Maria Moreira of Lancaster, Mass.

Mary Peabody of Burlington, Vt.

Amarjit Sohal of Yuba City, Calif.

Jeffrey Ward of Windsor Height, Iowa

The new charter for the Committee was issued on November 25, 1998, and is renewed every two years. By law, the Committee is allowed to consist of no more than 20 members and no fewer than 14. The new 19-member Committee will consist of 8 incumbents and 11 new members. Members serve a two-year term, and can be reappointed for up to six consecutive years.