The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Monday that it is launching what it calls “a concerted effort” to help small and mid-sized farms.
The announcement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack comes after a recent census pointed to a reduction in the number of smaller farming operations.
Speaking with reporters from the National Farmers Union Convention in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Vilsack says his department is working to assist these farmers in finding markets for their products.
“We’re going to broaden the national farmers’ market directory to include community-supported agricultural activities," said Vilsack. "On-farm stores and food hubs, this will provide an opportunity for you, as a producer, to know precisely what opportunities exist within your region.”
Vilsack says the USDA is making it easier for small and mid-sized farmers to gain access to capital by expanding loan programs and increasing funding for such things as hoop houses, which enable longer growing seasons.