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USDA Announces Framework for Shoring Up the Food Supply Chain and Transforming the Food System to Be Fairer, More Competitive, More Resilient

USDA Announces Framework for Shoring Up the Food Supply Chain and Transforming the Food System to Be Fairer, More Competitive, More Resilient

USDA efforts to create more and better markets will benefit both producers and American consumers through fairer prices, as well as address longstanding issues intensified by pandemic

WASHINGTON, June 1, 2022 - Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is announcing details of a framework to transform the food system to benefit consumers, producers and rural communities by providing more options, increasing access, and creating new, more, and better markets for small and mid-size producers. Today’s announcement builds on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain disruptions caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine. This announcement also provides additional details on the June 2021 announcement to strengthen critical supply chains and address longstanding structural challenges that were revealed and intensified by the pandemic.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, USDA made significant investments through its Pandemic Assistance Program, providing immediate relief to producers, businesses, food workers and others. As the pandemic has evolved and Russia’s war in Ukraine has caused supply chain disruptions, it has become clear we cannot go back to the food system we had before: the Biden-Harris Administration and USDA recognize we must build back better and strengthen the food system across the supply chain, from how our food is produced to how it is purchased, and all the steps in between.

The goals of USDA’s Food System Transformation framework include:

USDA investments through the programs included in this framework will help make this vision a reality.

Today’s announcement supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader work to strengthen critical supply chains as directed by Executive Order 14017 America's Supply Chains. Funding is provided by the American Rescue Plan Act and other relief legislation.

Food Production

Farmers and ranchers across this country work hard every day to produce the food that feeds their neighbors and communities. The pandemic spotlighted the many challenges they face in accessing markets and capturing a fair share of the food dollar. We know that small and mid-size operations struggle in particular and there are still too many barriers to entry for new farmers. USDA is focused on increasing options for American farmers to process locally, sell locally, and adopt practices that are both good for their businesses and the climate. Forthcoming USDA investments include:

These actions build on the Organic Certification and Transition Cost Share program that was previously announced that provides pandemic assistance to producers and handlers of agricultural products who are obtaining or renewing their certification under the National Organic Program (NOP); this process can be costly and can be a barrier to market access for limited resource producers. USDA also announced earlier this year the Farm and Food Worker Relief Grant Program, which will provide support to workers in food production and processing who faced challenges during the pandemic.

Food Processing

The pandemic highlighted challenges within the middle of the food supply chain. Consolidated processing capacity created supply bottlenecks, which led to a drop in effective plant and slaughter capacity. Small and midsize farmers often struggled to compete for processing access and were left without an avenue for getting their animals to market. Addressing these challenges is key to transforming food systems. Building more distributed, local capacity will help build resiliency in the face of market disruptions, provide more choices for producers to create value-added products and sell locally, and support new economic opportunities and job creation in rural communities. USDA has already made investments to support new and expanded regional processing capacity and address challenges in the middle of the supply chain, including underinvestment in workforce development and barriers to new entry into the sector. Previous announcements include:

Additional planned investments include: Food Distribution & Aggregation

Having the right infrastructure in the right places to gather, move and hold food where and when it is needed is key to the resiliency of our food system. Efforts to shorten the supply chain provides more income opportunities for producers and more options for consumers to buy locally produced products. At the same time, shortening the supply chain has important climate benefits. USDA will make a series of investments to strengthen local and regional food systems, including:

These investments build on previous announcements including $130 million increase to the Local Agriculture Marketing Program, which will fund activities that expand and strengthen opportunities for local and regional food producers to sell to institutions, such as universities, hospitals, and settings operated by local, tribal, and state governments.

Markets & Consumers

The pandemic exposed and exacerbated the challenges of food and nutrition insecurity in this country. A family in the United States not having access to affordable, nutritious foods is unacceptable. USDA will support new and expanded access to markets for a diversity of growers while helping consumers access healthy foods through the following investments:

The investments outlined above across all elements of the supply chain – from producers to consumers – deliver on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to strengthen and transform critical parts of the food system in the United States, spurring economic opportunity while increasing resilience and certainty for producers and consumers alike. USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on creating new, more, and better markets to support farmers, ranchers, and consumers. USDA will do this by building more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.



Posted on June 1, 2022 in News.
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