FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jessica Manly, Communications Director, National Young Farmers Coalition
email@example.com, 518-643-3564 ext. 722
Washington, D.C. (June 2, 2022) Yesterday, USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced more than $2 billion in investments for transforming our food system and addressing the challenges and lessons learned during the ongoing global pandemic.
These investments include: $400 million toward creating a national structure of regional business centers that will provide “coordination, technical assistance, and capacity building support to small and mid-size food and farm businesses, particularly focused on processing, distribution and aggregation, and market access challenges”; up to $75 million in support for urban agriculture; and up to $300 million toward supporting farmers in transitioning to organic production.
“At Young Farmers, we believe farming is essential to our public health and our wellbeing. At the same time, this new generation of farmers is struggling with layered challenges, from land access to market access. The creative investments announced by USDA yesterday are responsive to the needs and requests of farmers and food systems advocates across the food supply chain for more support to act on the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic. With this announcement, USDA is taking a big step forward in resourcing a long-term transformation of our food and agriculture systems. This transformation must be towards resilience, community health, and equity—toward a system that celebrates the vast diversity of people, businesses, organizations, and institutions that work to keep our communities fed,” said Vanessa García Polanco, Policy Campaigns Co-Director at Young Farmers.
“Yesterday, I saw Secretary Vilsack speak passionately to a vision for a more resilient, more equitable, and more diverse food system. These investments are the rubber meeting the road, and they are made possible by an administration and a USDA that is committed to change, to showing up strong for farmers across the country, and seeing the great diversity in our farming communities, and the great potential of this new generation,“ said David Howard, Policy Campaigns Co-Director at Young Farmers.
Young Farmers applauds the thought leadership of Secretary Vilsack, the Biden-Harris Administration, and USDA staff on their intentional process in developing and executing on these investments toward reshaping our food system. We call on Congress to build on this work as the 2023 Farm Bill takes shape. Yesterday’s announcement is an investment, but it is also a call to action. These investments are critical, and yet they are only possible because of remaining funding from the American Rescue Act and other relief legislation. Fully resourcing a transformation of our food systems will require consistent and strong funding, including a historic investment in land access and transition. We look forward to working with farmers, partner organizations, Congress, and the USDA to ensure that such an investment is materialized through the next farm bill and the implementation work that will follow.
The National Young Farmers Coalition (Young Farmers) is a national grassroots network of young farmers changing policy and shifting power to equitably resource the new generation of working farmers. Visit Young Farmers on the web at www.youngfarmers.org, and on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.