Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Agriculture secretary announces new measures to help small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers

In an effort to help more small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers build their businesses, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Monday at the National Farmers Union convention "a series of initiatives that include more local and regional market information, new learning guides, improved access to capital, more cost-effective risk management and other tools," Sara Wyant reports for Agri-Pulse, a Washington newsletter. Vilsack said resources will be listed on the USDA website.

Tom Vilsack
"Efforts include improved access to USDA resources, revised risk management tools that better fit the needs of smaller producers, additional support for hoop houses, and expanded collection of valuable market news information," Vilsack said. "USDA is also introducing a series of education tools focusing on opportunities for farmers engaged in local and regional food systems. In addition, USDA field staff will be boosting their outreach efforts to small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers."

USDA notes that its proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 includes "$2.5 million to provide food safety training to owners and operators of small farms, small food processors, and small fruit and vegetable vendors affected by Food Safety Modernization Act," and "$3 million for Small, Socially Disadvantaged Producers Grants Program to ensure historically underprivileged rural Americans have opportunities for cooperative development." The recently signed Farm Bill also includes $100 million over five years to the Beginner Farmer and Rancher Development Program, $63 million over five years to the Value-Added Producer Grant Program and $30 million annually to the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program. (Read more)

No comments: