MFU President attends White House event
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President Gary Wertish today attended a Communities in Action: Building a Better Minnesota event at the White House.
Wertish talked about the importance of routine maintenance and investing in a resilient food system.
“The outbuildings on my property were built several years ago. I have continued to spend money to update those buildings, because once something is built, it must be maintained or it will crumble. That’s true of buildings or food systems,” Wertish said. “The once-robust local food system in this country hasn’t been maintained and the fragility of the present food system was on full display during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. We, as a nation, need to re-invest to rebuild a local and regional food system that benefits farmers, consumers and food system entrepreneurs.”
Over the past two years, the Biden-Harris administration has invested in agriculture through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).
Here’s some of the ways the federal investments approved through the ARPA, IRA and BIL are making a difference:
- More than $1 billion invested in food processing, distribution and aggregation infrastructure, including expanding and diversifying independent meat and poultry processing capacity and addressing the credit access gap for meat and poultry processing projects.
- $1.1 billion of American Rescue Plan and Commodity Credit Corporation funding was used for the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA), which uses non-competitive cooperative agreements with state and tribal governments to procure and distribute local and regional foods and beverages that are healthy, nutritious, and unique to their geographic area.
- The funding also was used for the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program (LFS), which strengthened the food system for schools by helping to build a fair, competitive, and resilient local food chain, and expand local and regional markets with an emphasis on purchasing from historically underserved producers and processors.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, promoting competition and fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, and building new markets and income streams for farmers using climate-smart food and forestry practices.
About Minnesota Farmers Union
Minnesota Farmers Union works to protect and enhance the economic interests and quality of life of family farmers and ranchers and rural communities. MFU is a nonprofit membership-based organization. Membership is open to everyone. Learn more and join at www.mfu.org, and follow MFU on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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Minnesota Farmers Union—Standing for Agriculture, Working for Farmers (www.mfu.org).