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Why the USDA Funding for Agriculture is a Positive Step

Posted on: March 16th, 2015 | Posted in: USDA

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recently stepped up with $52 million to fund local and regional food systems, with a portion of the funds for organic farming research. This increase in funding is a positive step, for many reasons.
The USDA allocates a portion of its funds for marketing campaigns for farmer’s markets and to educate people about the benefits of buying local produce. While the number of food markets opening across the country steadily increases, few customers understand their potential benefits. Currently, there are about 300 food hubs in the US.
One of the key benefits of the increase in USDA funding of farmer’s markets and food hubs is that it has the potential to breathe new life into the sagging US economy. When customers buy produce that is locally grown at farmer’s markets, rather than at supermarkets that get much of their fresh goods from large distribution centers, the money stays in the local community. It is, in a sense, re-invested in the local area.
In addition to having the potential to revitalize the economy, local food systems also are great employment generators. Whenever a new market or hub appears, that is easily another 20 people who have gainful employment. Reducing unemployment rates is a positive step toward getting the US government back on its feet.
Over the next five years, the USDA plans to put $125 million toward research on organic farming and $50 million toward research on conservation programs. As organic business grows across the country, investing research dollars in it makes sense. Education will reveal which organic practices work best and how to be efficient at that type of business.
The agricultural funding has the potential to produce significant benefits. We look forward to watching the impact of USDA spending.

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