As part of President Biden's initiative to strengthen U.S. supply chains, the Agriculture Department announced $196 million in grants, loans, and loan guarantees to projects to expand domestic food and agriculture production on Monday. The awards range from loan guarantees to expand a nut processing plant in California and develop a 35-acre tomato greenhouse and processing plant in South Carolina, to 170 smaller grants across the country.
David "Mas" Matsumoto says he farms with ghosts, says producer Lisa Morehouse. On his family’s organic peach, nectarine and grape farm south of Fresno, he points out pruning scars from long-time workers, and walks down rows of trees he planted with his father. He says the labor and lessons of his ancestors are in the soil and the grapevines and orchards, and he’s passing these on to the next generations, Morehouse says in FERN's latest audio report produced in collaboration with KQED's The California Report. No paywall
In a bid to strengthen local and regional food systems and help small and midsized farms and food businesses reach new markets and resources, the USDA is creating a dozen new regional food centers, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday. (No paywall)
For years, the crop subsidy limit has been $125,000 a year per farmer. Given a free hand on subsidies, Americans would keep the limit roughly the same, though they would give small family farms an extra bit of help, said a trio of analysts on Thursday.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack reached back to the Carter era in calling for a transformational 2023 farm bill that helps small and medium-size farmers earn more from the land rather than move to town. Secretary Bob Bergland "issued a warning to all of us about" the problem of too much consolidation in agriculture, said Vilsack.
For all their differences, the United States and the European Union share a common experience — the abrupt decline in farm numbers, said the agriculture ministers of the agricultural powerhouses. The transformation of the agriculture sector, more recent in Europe than in the United States, resulted in a relatively small number of large farms that produce the majority of the food and many small farms with little revenue from crops and livestock.
The increasing dominance of large factory farms in Iowa means hog farmers earn $2 less per pound of pork than they did 40 years ago, when the state had many more smaller farms, according to a new report by the nonprofit advocacy group Food & Water Watch.
Small farmers who sell their products locally are eligible for a new micro-farm policy, said the Risk Management Agency, which oversees the federally subsidized crop insurance system. The policy, which simplifies recordkeeping and covers post-production costs, is available for 2022 crops.
The USDA will create a $100 million loan-guarantee program to expand processing capacity in the meat industry and improve the infrastructure of the food chain, announced Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday. The program is "focused on the middle of the supply chain," he said, such as mobile processing units, new cold storage equipment and formation of cooperatives to gather, process and market farm goods.
Small livestock producers often face the problem of finding a meat processor who is located nearby or with the available capacity when their animals are ready for slaughter. Reps Chellie Pingree and Jeff Fortenberry said the bottleneck would be eased under their bill, filed on Tuesday, that …
With industrial meat operations struggling to stay open, consumers are turning in droves to smaller producers to keep them in beef, pork, chicken and lamb, as Stephen R. Miller reports in FERN's latest story, published with HuffPost. Miller's story takes a close look at one operation, SkyPilot Farm in Longmont, Colorado, which is run by Chloe Johnson and her husband Craig Scariot. Since the outbreak, sales at SkyPilot have increased about 400 percent and the customer base has tripled.(No paywall)
In a state losing two dairy farms a day, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Tuesday that it’s hard to make a living with a small herd of cows. The “economies of scale having happened in America—big get bigger and small go out,” Perdue said at a dairy show in Wisconsin, in comments …
Corporate consolidation and low commodity prices are posing an existential threat to small, family farms, farmers warned at an event hosted by the Wisconsin Farmers Union in Madison last week. Several producers, from small organic growers to commodity milk farmers, shared stories about how tough farming has become.
For centuries, a coveted type of ham — jamón ibérico de bellota — has been produced from a special breed of pigs in Spain. Now a Georgia farmer is aiming to create an American version of the iconic food, writes Maryn McKenna in FERN’s latest story, produced with Eater. No paywall
New estimates from USDA say that this year, 82 percent of farm income will come from off-farm jobs. That’s up from just 53 percent in 1960, demonstrating how falling farm incomes have turned “what was once a way of life into a part-time job,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
U.S. farm numbers continue to drift lower, dropping to 2.048 million according to a USDA survey conducted last June, only a shadow of their peak during the Depression. At the same time that the total falls, the portion of land operated by the biggest farms, the powerhouses with more than $1 million a year in sales, continues to grow, now covering a quarter of all farmland.
A new report from the Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service found that as much as 75 percent of small farms in the U.S. are experiencing serious financial risks, compared to around 30 percent of large farms. The report, “America’s Diverse Family Farms,” concluded that despite their high level of risk, small farmers are also less likely to receive government farm supports, which disproportionately are allocated towards large-scale farms.
In the small town of Ava in southern Illinois, brewers Marika Josephson and Aaron Kleidon take a look outside when they need ingredients for their brewery. With a garden on their property and a "commitment to sourcing their hops and malt close to home," Scratch Brewery "is part of a new movement of breweries that want to use foraged beers—beverages brewed with wild ingredients sourced hyper-locally—to educate drinkers about agriculture," says Civil Eats.