On June thirtieth, 2021, Younger Farmers member Tianna Kennedy testified in entrance of the Home Agriculture Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Analysis about provide chain restoration and resiliency for small producers. Tianna is a farmer in upstate New York who owns Star Route Farm and the 607 CSA. In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 607 CSA pivoted to satisfy the wants of their neighborhood by establishing a supply service for his or her shoppers consisting of 45 native farms serving 40 completely different cities. The brand new program was profitable in offering a diversified CSA to 800 residents within the Catskills and New York Metropolis and serves as a promising instance of an modern regional foodshed mannequin. This system additionally met varied challenges, such because the immense enterprise threat inherent in scaling up so shortly, in addition to the excessive prices of trucking and warehousing meals and the shortcoming to satisfy all the patron demand.
Throughout her testimony, Tianna requested Congress to fund devoted Rural Improvement workplace employees, non-profits, and extension employees to conduct outreach and supply technical help to regional meals companies and organizations like hers in order that the transition to scaling up is extra easeful. She known as for the growth of USDA packages past FSA microloans for vertically built-in infrastructure, reminiscent of new e-commerce platforms and transportation companies and tools. Gadgets like these must be included in packages just like the Worth-Added Producer Grants (VAGP), the Native Meals Promotion Program (LFPP), and the Regional Meals Programs Partnerships (RFSP).
She urged for USDA to streamline its functions, prolong deadlines, and eradicate match necessities to make USDA packages extra accessible to starting and small producers. She additionally urged that the USDA prioritize the rating of all Native Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) grant functions submitted by or supposed to service new and starting farmers, Black, Indigenous, and folks of shade (BIPOC) farmers, veterans, and small- and medium-sized farms. Lastly, USDA ought to actively conduct outreach to and recruit BIPOC producers and organizations for grant evaluate panels and USDA advisory committees to attempt to make sure that the ultimate make-up of committees and panels displays the range of who works in agriculture, and USDA ought to decide to offering further outreach, sources, and technical help to socially deprived producers and underserved communities to extend fairness in agriculture.
You’ll be able to hearken to Tianna’s testimony right here.