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News Release

Release No. 0457.04
Julie Quick (202) 720-4623
James Callan (202) 720-8812

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Education Partnership Agreements and Targeted States - $9.7 million
Community Outreach and Assistance Agreements - $5 million
Research and Development Agreements - $5.1 million

WASHINGTON, October 22, 2004 - Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman today announced awards of $19.8 million in risk management partnership agreements. The agreements will support the development of new risk management tools, outreach and education opportunities for traditionally underserved producers.

"The Bush Administration is committed to providing farmers and ranchers additional risk management tools to more effectively manage their businesses," Veneman said. "These projects create opportunities for underserved, small and limited-resource producers to become better risk managers."

Funding for these agreements is available under the Federal Crop Insurance Act provisions for risk management and implementation of research and development, community outreach and assistance, and crop insurance education in targeted states. The projects are administered by USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA).

"Through these partnerships, women, minority, limited resource and other underserved agricultural producers will receive assistance in understanding and using risk management tools to improve their economic viability," said RMA Administrator Ross J. Davidson, Jr. "We're striving to expand the risk management options and educational possibilities for all producers."

The Targeted States Program will use $4.4 million to deliver crop insurance education to producers in 15 historically underserved states through cooperative agreements. Specialty crop, livestock, nursery and horticulture producers will benefit from $5.3 million, which will be spent on 41 education partnership agreements for commodity partnership programs. One such project is a $225,000 agreement with the University of Maine, Cooperative Extension that would develop an educational program that would ensure farmers and ranchers in Maine are sufficiently informed of existing and emerging crop insurance programs.

Through one of its two commodity partnership agreements, Custom Ag Solutions in Wyoming will develop livestock risk management content and provide educational opportunities for beginning producers in Wyoming to assist them in operating stable and profitable enterprises through effective use of financial tools, technology and risk management strategies. The Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association agreement will provide risk management education to assist fruit, vegetable and pecan growers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina in making proper risk management decisions. The Farm Research Cooperative agreement will provide risk management education in English and Spanish to small, limited resource and minority farmers in Michigan and Ohio.

Fifty-nine competitively awarded partnerships with community-based, educational and nonprofit organizations will use $5 million to educate women, limited resource, and other traditionally underserved farmers and ranchers. For example, an agreement with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture will expand and refine existing community outreach activities that involve bringing risk management information to non-traditional farmers.

The Minnesota Food Association agreement will provide immigrant and refugee farmers in Minnesota with risk management education on production, marketing, financial, legal and human resources issues. Similarly, an agreement with Farm to Table, Inc. in New Mexico seeks to expand the markets and improve the economic viability of limited resource, socially disadvantaged and traditionally underserved farmers and ranchers in the Southwest.

Twelve research partnerships were awarded $5.1 million for the research and development of new non-insurance risk management tools. For example, Iowa State University will develop a risk management tool for beef and dairy producers nationwide to minimize the potential for the introduction and spread of infectious diseases. Kilauea Consulting in Hawaii will develop a web-based decision tool designed to assist limited resource and underserved producers with limited English proficiency in making more informed decisions when undertaking or expanding farm enterprises. The University of Florida will develop a risk management tool to assess the risks associated with labor in the production of specialty crops.

A complete listing of the agreements can be found on the following websites: