MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — New farmers from across the country will be in Washington this week to lobby for more investments to foster the next generation of farmers and ranchers.

The Minnesota-based Land Stewardship Project is one of several groups sending members to Washington to meet with policymakers Tuesday through Thursday. Participants in the fly-in include Nolan Lenzen, a beginning grass-based organic dairy farmer from the central Minnesota community of Eagle Bend. He'll be joined by a dozen beginning farmers from coast to coast.

They're urging Congress to expand programs that help beginning farmers and ranchers as it prepares to draft the 2012 Farm Bill.

The groups say beginning farmer programs can be job creators that bring economic development to rural communities while producing food and fiber for new markets.

___

Online:

Land Stewardship Project: http://www.landstewardshipproject.org

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.