WASHINGTON – Today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the creation of 12 new USDA Regional Food Business Centers that, according to a release from USDA, will “provide national coverage coordination, technical assistance, and capacity building to help farmers, ranchers, and other food businesses access new markets and navigate federal, state, and local resources, thereby closing the gaps to success.”
Additionally, USDA is investing $420 million for the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program (RFSI) to “fund innovative projects designed invest in processing and distribution capacity to build resilience across the middle of the supply chain and strengthen local and regional food systems.”
“This is the kind of capacity and investment that we need to make meaningful improvements in our food system,” said NFU President Rob Larew. “Providing local and regional access to processing and distribution is one avenue to fight back against the rampant consolidation in the agriculture and food sector. Providing support for farmers and ranchers to market their products in their own communities and keep those resources locally is a win for everyone.”
As part of National Farmers Union’s (NFU) Fairness for Farmers campaign, NFU is drawing attention to the impacts of monopolies and near-monopolies in the food and agriculture sectors.
Larew added, “Federal investment support for diversified processing and marketing channels – like today’s announcement – will build resiliency in the food supply and vitality in our rural and agricultural economy.”
An audio version of President Larew’s quote can be found here.