Kaptur Statement After USDA Taps Cleveland As New Farm Service Agency County Committee for Urban Agriculture
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Cleveland will be the recipient of a new Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committee focused exclusively on urban agriculture. County committees have enabled farmer input on the delivery of FSA programs since the 1930s, and these new committees are part of USDA’s efforts to better support urban agriculture.
Rep. Kaptur is glad to have helped make Northern Ohio a leader in urban agriculture after leading efforts for years to install the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production.
“I am glad to see Cleveland will be will be the recipient of a new Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committee,” said Rep. Kaptur. “Facilitating urban agriculture has been one of my dearest priorities in Congress. Urban Agriculture and the farmers who facilitate it are invaluable to their communities, playing a large role in reducing food insecurity and making fresh produce available to those who might otherwise not be able to access it. This is a positive step forward and I look forward to working with the soon to be established county committee in Cleveland.”
“County committees represent farmers and set priorities at the local level,” said Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey. “Urban and suburban farmers are uniquely qualified to identify the needs of growers and their communities, especially when it comes to making fresh, healthy food accessible.”
“I encourage urban growers to nominate candidates to lead, serve, and represent their community on their county committee,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “Diverse representation can ensure that the needs of all farmers, including urban and suburban farmers, are included in local decisions for USDA programs.”
The committees are organized through USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production, and the first five will be located in:
- Cleveland, Ohio
- Philadelphia, Pa.
- Portland, Ore.
- Richmond, Va.
- Albuquerque, N.M.
Five additional county committees will be announced in the fall.
The urban and suburban county committees will work to encourage and promote urban, indoor, and other emerging agricultural production practices. Additionally, the new county committees may address areas such as food access, community engagement, support of local activities to promote and encourage community compost,
and food waste reduction.
Committees will make important decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally. Their input is vital to how FSA carries out disaster programs, as well as conservation, commodity and price support programs, county office employment, and other agricultural issues.