With the catastrophic hurricanes and wildfires this year, the need for risk management education for farmers and ranchers couldn’t be clearer. Earlier this year USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced funding for cooperative agreements that better prepare producers for natural disasters and extreme weather.
For the past few years, I have led a team that coordinates these cooperative agreements, which help producers, especially those traditionally underserved or with limited resources, manage risk, production, and finances. These agreements also provide crop insurance education in states where there is historically a low level of crop insurance participation.
As an Air Force veteran, I am particularly proud that many of this year’s recipients have done much to support our veterans, a priority for USDA. The department has made a huge push to assist vets pursuing agricultural careers, culminating in the launch of a great website - www.usda.gov/veterans.
More than $1.4 million in risk management awards will go to universities and entities that are active in veteran outreach. The impact of these awards on veterans range from quality workshops to job training. For example, The National Immigrant Farming Institute will use their USDA award to assist six former service-members to begin farming with the help of a project team.
Our country’s agricultural sector not only needs trained, disciplined, and skilled decision makers, but farmers and ranchers who understand the need to prepare for every scenario. Those of us who have served understand the critical value of contingency planning. That is why my team feels a great deal of satisfaction facilitating funding that gives veterans and transitioning service-members the tools to succeed and weather any storm.
In total, USDA’s Risk Management Agency awarded 76 cooperative agreements for projects including those that address crop insurance, whole-farm revenue protection, pasture, rangeland, forage, livestock and dairy products, cover crops, irrigation, record keeping, and prevented planting. Read more at www.rma.usda.gov/en/About-RMA/Jobs-and-Opportunities/Partnerships-and-Cooperative-Agreements.