Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan Announces $8.6 Million in Partnership Agreements to Help Small and Underserved Producers | USDA Newsroom
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News Release

Release No. 0450.09
Shirley Pugh (202) 690-0437

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Producers Can Learn New Risk Management Strategies Through 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' Initiative

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 2009 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced that the Risk Management Agency (RMA) has awarded $8.6 million in partnership agreements to provide producers with opportunities to learn more about managing risk in their businesses, which provides an important educational opportunity for limited-resource and underserved farmers and ranchers. This announcement comes as part of the 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' initiative, a USDA-wide collaboration that will connect people more closely with the farmers who supply their food.

"The partnerships we are announcing today will provide opportunities for underserved, small and limited-resource producers to become better risk managers," said Merrigan. "For these small farmers in particular, risk management often means understanding direct marketing and for this they need legal, financial, and food safety tools and information appropriate for the scale of their operation and the markets that they serve."

Many of the partnerships that RMA is offering can help farmers diversify production and marketing practices, or to provide planning tools to help farmers obtain the insurance and credit that are often critical to their ability to stay in business or to diversify their existing business.

Federal Crop Insurance and Risk Management Education programs together provide a safety net to ensure that farmers and ranchers will survive the perils of nature and the marketplace and continue in business, thus ensuring the food supply. RMA administers these projects as well as the federal crop insurance program, with funding and authority from the Federal Crop Insurance Act.

The new partnership agreements announced today include:

Crop Insurance Education in Targeted States: $4,470,075 is being awarded to deliver crop insurance education and information to agricultural producers in 16 states designated as historically underserved with respect to crop insurance. These targeted states include: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Commodity Partnerships for Small Agricultural Risk Management Education Sessions: $697,875 is being warded to fund 70 commodity partnership agreements across the country, delivering training to U.S. agricultural producers in managing production, marketing, and financial risk. The program gives priority to educating producers of crops currently not insured under Federal crop insurance, specialty crops, and underserved commodities, including livestock and forage.

Community Outreach and Assistance Partnerships: Up to $3.4 million is being awarded for collaborative outreach and assistance programs for limited resource, socially disadvantaged and other traditionally under-served farmers and ranchers, who produce priority commodities.

Complete listings of the agreements can be found on the RMA Web site at: .


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