USDA AWARDS $21.2 MILLION IN PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENTS TO DEVELOP RISK MANAGEMENT TOOLS AND EDUCATION
WASHINGTON, September 27, 2007 - Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner today announced awards of nearly $21.2 million in agricultural risk management partnership agreements throughout the United States. The agreements fund projects to develop new risk management tools for farmers and ranchers, as well as outreach and education opportunities to limited-resource and other traditionally under-served farmers and ranchers.
"These partnerships can provide producers with the information and resources to make informed decisions about crop insurance and other risk management strategies," said Conner. "Our goal is to improve revenue and reduce risks for the producers we serve."
Non-Insurance Risk Management Partnerships - $ 3.3 million
USDA awarded eight agreements, totaling $3,337,401 to qualified public and private organizations for research and development of new non-insurance risk management tools. For example, Utah State University plans a means to enable cow-calf producers to compare risk and returns by using available marketing products, such as futures and options and using federal crop insurance products Livestock Risk Protection and Adjusted Gross Revenue-Lite. A number of supporting fact sheets exploring different aspects of risk related to cow-calf ranching and detailing the advantages and disadvantages of various risk mitigating techniques, including crop insurance products, will be available in both English and Spanish on the RMA website: www.rma.usda.gov
Community Outreach and Assistance Partnerships - $ 8.3 million
USDA's Community Outreach and Assistance Partnership Program is funding $8,346,729 for 65 agreements. Highlights of these projects include: Growing Power's "Risk Management Strategies for Beginning and Small Farmers and Ranchers Conference;" Programs include Coastal Enterprise's training and resources for recent immigrant farmers; Iowa Women In Agriculture hands-on training on existing and emerging on-line risk management tools and programs; Rural Community Development Resources' bilingual risk management education program for Latino farmers; University of Alaska's program of promoting energy alternatives for small farmers (oilseeds); Dine Be'iina's program to inform traditionally underserved Navajo sheep and goat producers on tribal lands in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah about risk management solutions; Michigan State University's training in purchase, construction and use of low cost passive solar greenhouse technology for small scale producers; and University of Hawaii's training and mentoring assistance in integrated pest management, pesticide safety, record keeping, and farm finances for Hawaii's Filipino and Southeast Asian producers.
Risk Management and Crop Insurance Education Partnerships - $ 9.6 million
Risk Management and Crop Insurance Education Partnerships will use $9,633,194 to deliver risk management and crop insurance education through partnership and cooperative agreements under three different programs. The first, Small Sessions Education Partnership Agreements, total $418,000 in amounts up to $10,000 for 43 projects, including seminars teaching farm families financial management skills, tax advice and implications, family dynamics and economics, bridging the gap between the generations, succeeding at business succession, conflict prevention/resolution in family businesses and family farm management. Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa, partnership projects will provide information, resources and peer support to traditionally underserved tree fruit growers. Growers in this business and marketing seminar will in turn host two field days at their orchards to discuss and demonstrate risk-reducing strategies in organic tree fruit production and marketing.
The second program, Commodity Partnership Agreements, will use $4,715,000 in amounts of up $10,000 for 49 projects to deliver training in management of production, marketing, and financial risk to U.S. agricultural producers of crops currently not insured under Federal crop insurance; specialty crops; and underserved commodities, including livestock and forage. Projects include those in Kentucky and Tennessee, to assist small farmers, many of whom are former tobacco growers, with risk management education on pastured poultry and meat goats. In California, a project will teach livestock producers about structure, availability, and appropriate use of RMA's new and expanded Livestock Risk Protection (LRP).
The third project awards Targeted States Cooperative Agreements totaling $4.5 million, to deliver crop insurance education to producers in 15 historically under-served states through cooperative agreements in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Funding for these agreements is available under the Federal Crop Insurance Act. USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) administers these projects as well as the federal crop insurance program. For more information about the agreements, please see the RMA Web site at: http://www.rma.usda.gov/aboutrma/agreements/