Supporting Small and Mid-Sized Farmers
I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
There have been concerns following the publication of the Census of Agriculture about the declining number of middle sized farming operations. In response, U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced USDA’s concerted effort to expand the agency’s support for small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers. Some of those efforts will include developing a whole farm insurance policy that will better meet the needs of highly diversified farmers - particularly small and mid-sized fruit and vegetable growers, expansion of the popular Micro-Loan Program - increasing the credit limit to $50 thousand, and changes to the Farm Storage and Facility Loan Program to help small and mid-sized fruit and vegetable producers access the program for cold storage and related equipment. National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Policy Director, Ferd Hoefner, had this to say about the FSFLP changes.
HOEFNER: For fruit and vegetable growers in particular packing and storage sheds are a critical part of the overall operation - this is where the produces is washed, sorted and graded, labeled and boxed up, and stored before it heads to market. So, we really applaud the Secretary and the Farm Service Agency for moving ahead with changes to the Farm Storage and Facility Loan Program that will greatly improve the programs ability to help diversified producers sell their produce through local and regional marketing channels.
The PCC Farmland Trust in Seattle, the Tilth Producers of Washington, the Washington Sustainable Food and Farming Network, and the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources - WSU Puyallup are all participating members of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.
That’s Washington Ag Today.
I’m Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.