Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

Local News

April 29, 2014

USDA announces additional support for small, mid-sized farmers and ranchers

Second major small farmer package this year includes research awards, technical assistance and marketing support

WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced additional support and resources for America’s small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers.

The announcement includes $7 million in university research awards in support of small and midsized producers; $8.8 million in technical assistance for small, socially-disadvantaged producers and Rural Cooperative Centers; and a marketing certification program for small and very small grass-fed beef producers.

This is the second major USDA package this year in support of small and midsized producers. The first package included efforts to increase access to capital, provide better risk management tools, expand marketing opportunities, and offer food safety training and educational resources specific to America’s small and midsize producers. Today’s announcement builds on these efforts.

“Small and midsized producers are a vital part of America’s agricultural future, and we are dedicated to ensuring their success,” said Vilsack. “The programs and opportunities announced today are part of our ongoing commitment to ensure that smaller farmers and ranchers get access to the resources they need to thrive. USDA is continually reviewing our resources, programs and policies to make sure we are working for producers of all sizes.”

More information about USDA tools and resources available to small and mid-sized farmers, including information about today’s announcement, is available on USDA’s Small and Mid-Sized Farmer Resources webpage.

Efforts announced by the secretary on Tuesday include:

• $7 million in grant awards to 10 universities to develop programs that will assist small and medium-sized farmers grow their operations, enhance their production and become economically viable.

These awards, made by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Small and Medium-Sized Farms program focus on developing models to assist small farmers in their decision making with respect to management strategies, new technologies, sustainability, competitiveness and viability.

These awards prioritize strategies enhancing access to markets, developing local and regional food systems, assessing the impact of economic changes to new and beginning farmers, and conducting outreach activities which can inform relevant public policy to enhance small farmers’ well-being.

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