Enhancing USDA aid for specialty crop farmers

Mar 15, 2024

By Farms.com

Responding to the USDA's call under its Specialty Crop Competitiveness Initiative, Farm Action has voiced a strong appeal for the department to escalate its support mechanisms for fruit and vegetable producers. This initiative aims to catalyze competition within the specialty crop industry and address the national agricultural trade deficit.  

Echoing the sentiments of 19 allied farm, food, and faith organizations, Farm Action emphasizes the disproportionate challenges smaller, diversified, and socially disadvantaged farms face, notably in securing land, credit, and safety net program access.

Proposing concrete solutions, Farm Action advocates for a comprehensive overhaul of federal crop insurance programs to enhance accessibility for all farmers, particularly those feeding their communities. It calls for the USDA to prioritize its procurement towards supporting smaller, independent, and domestic farming operations over large agribusiness conglomerates. 

This strategic redirection in agricultural policy and support is envisaged to fortify the resilience of local economies and reestablish robust regional food systems capable of withstanding global supply chain disruptions. Farm Action's campaign has also seen significant public engagement, with over a thousand supporters echoing the call for improved USDA support for specialty crop producers through public comments. 

Additionally, a recent webinar hosted by the organization shed light on how these proposed policy shifts could rectify the expanding agricultural trade deficit, highlighting the urgent need for targeted governmental support in revitalizing the specialty crop sector.

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