Contact: USDA Office of Communication (202) 720-4623
Alisa Harrison (202) 720-4623
Eric Edgington (202) 690-2539
USDA AWARDS $18.5 MILLION IN GRANTS AND AGREEMENTS TO DEVELOP RISK MANAGEMENT TOOLS AND EDUCATION
WASHINGTON, Dec.2, 2002--Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman today announced the awarding of $18.5 million dollars in grants to help provide new ways for producers to manage risks to
their businesses and for outreach and educational opportunities to women, limited-resource and other traditionally underserved farmers and ranchers.
"USDA is committed to providing farmers and ranchers risk management tools to build and maintain their businesses," Veneman said.
"These projects will help create
opportunities for underserved, small and limited-resource producers so that they can become better risk managers."
Research and Development Grants--$9.8 million
Of the $18.5 million, $9.8 million was awarded to qualified public and private organizations for research and develop of new risk management tools for underserved
For example, the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Board of Regents
web-based project will allow producers to analyze potential risks of climate and soil hazards to crops and livestock.
partnership agreement will develop a tool to help farmers select direct marketing strategies of
organic commodities to reduce their income variation.
Education Agreements--$5.5 million
Specialty crop producers
and farmers in underserved states will benefit from $5.5 million in
Of this amount,
$3.7 million will be spent on 72 projects to help educate farmers of commodities that are not yet covered by federal crop insurance and specialty crops producers.
Farmers and ranchers in 15 states that have been traditionally underserved by federal crop insurance will benefit from $1.8 million in education agreements, which will be spent on 13 crop insurance education and information agreements.
The partnerships that fall under these categories include the
Texas-Mexico Border Coalition
, to help provide risk management education to Hispanic specialty crop producers in Texas.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture
will provide training opportunities to small and mid-size fruit, vegetable, and timber producers in Michigan.
Hiawatha Valley Resource
Conservation and Development Association
agreement will conduct
risk management training for producers in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin with the goal of accelerating the adoption of reduced fertilizer application, as recommended in university research and as envisioned in new crop insurance plans.
Outreach Partnerships--$3.2 million
Forty-five competitively awarded
partnerships with community-based, educational and nonprofit organizations will use $3.2 million dollars to educate women, limited-resource and other traditionally underserved farmers and ranchers.
For example, an agreement with the
Agricultural & Land Based Training Association
will provide risk management training to beginning Latino farmers on the central coast of California.
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
agreement will develop interactive, web-based training to help improve the economic viability of small- to moderate-scale producers of organic horticultural products in the South. An agreement with the
Regents of the
University of Minnesota
will help Hmong farmers in the state improve production and management
The projects were funded and awarded by the Risk Management Agency (RMA).
The agency's extensive network of public and private sector partnerships annually generates new market-driven insurance products, educational initiatives and the sales and servicing of nearly 1.3 million policies covering over 215
million acres and providing farmers over $37 billion in coverage (current as of Nov. 25, 2002).
In 2000, changes to the program made premiums more affordable and most farmers increased their coverage levels.
Participation at higher levels of coverage means that RMA and private crop
insurance companies automatically provide more assistance to farmers when disaster strikes.
In 2002, an estimated 80 percent of the acreage growing the principal U. S. crops are insured.
USDA estimates that the program will pay thousands of hard-hit farmers about $4.1 billion in claims for lost production-a record high.
Detailed information on the 2002 partnership agreements can be obtained at
/news/2002/11/agreements.html, including recipients, amounts, targeted audiences and contact people.