USDA announces funds for food system improvements
Transforming systems like food is no easy task.
The pandemic altered the lanes that were in place and created new ones.
Now USDA wants to take that a step further.
Peter Tubbs reports.
The United States Department of Agriculture announced a new round of initiatives aimed at adding flexibility for both consumers and producers for the American food system.
Tom Vilsack, Secretary, USDA: “I believe a transformed food system will sustainably produce more food, allowing the United States to meet its global responsibility through exports and donations to ensure global food security. With these investments, the transformed food system will mean more new and better markets, generating better income for producers and better choices and prices for consumers.”
The spending aims to improve both market opportunities for agricultural producers and options for consumers looking to feed their families.
- Independently owned processors and distributors will see guaranteed loans for distribution and cold-storage projects to further strengthen the food distribution system.
- In order to reduce the fragility of the meat processing industry, the USDA will fund the training of potential meat processing workers. The pool of employees could help keep meat processing plants online during another high demand period like the one seen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The USDA also will encourage more regional food centers. The move would assist small and medium sized food processors and distributors to better serve their markets.
- The organic food sector will see increased technical assistance to farmers interested in transitioning to organic practices, along with increased crop insurance options;
- There will be an increase in funding for the Farm-to-School program. The infusion of funds will be used to try and increase the amount of locally grown produce purchased for America’s school lunches.
- The Healthy Food Financing Initiative will fund grants and loans to improve food access in both rural and urban areas that are underserved by grocery stores or food retailers.
Tom Vilsack, Secretary, USDA: “When faced with grave challenges, America seizes the opportunity to transform itself into a stronger and better form of itself. I believe a transformed food system will deliver a better deal for farmers, ranchers and growers and consumers through more new and better markets. Also, stimulating our rural economy, I believe a transformed food system will also lead to better health outcomes for Americans by increasing access to healthy locally grown foods.”
For Market to Market, I’m Peter Tubbs.