USDA Invests in Crop Insurance Education to Help Small and Underserved Producers in 47 States Manage Risk, Remain Productive
WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2011—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) will support crop insurance education and outreach in 47 states to ensure that small and underserved producers get the information they need to effectively manage their risk and remain productive. Awards totaling approximately $13.6 million from two RMA programs—Targeted States and the Education and Outreach programs—will support thousands of American farmers, ranchers and producers.
"Despite hardships and setbacks due to extreme weather conditions in many parts of the country, American agriculture is experiencing its strongest year overall thanks to the dedication and resilience of our farmers and ranchers," said Vilsack. "USDA is committed to diversity, inclusion and performance in everything we do, and we need to continue to ensure opportunities in agriculture for all Americans. Through these partnerships, traditionally underserved agricultural producers and those in targeted states will receive assistance in understanding and using risk management tools."
The partnerships announced today will provide farmers and ranchers access to a complete set of conferences, targeted instruction, strategies, and networking opportunities at a local level.
The Risk Management Education and Outreach Agreements program is awarding $8.5 million to fund 109 agreements. Examples include:
• In Wisconsin, six hands-on workshops will educate dairy farmers on using recordkeeping and financial analysis software.
• Washington State will expand on previous work with Hmong and Latino farmers using targeted farm production and business management curricula.
• Oklahoma State University will hold a statewide conference and six regional conferences for producers of underserved commodities and specialty crops.
• New and beginning refugee and immigrant farmers in Massachusetts will perform a risk management assessment of their operations, and be taught to incorporate risk management strategies and practices into their plans.
Under the Risk Management Targeted States program, $4,999,821 is being awarded to deliver crop insurance education and information to agricultural producers in 16 states designated as historically underserved with respect to crop insurance. These targeted states include Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
The Risk Management Education and Outreach and Targeted States programs are designed to help ensure that farmers and ranchers effectively manage their risk through difficult periods, helping to maintain America's robust food supply and the survival of small, limited resource, socially disadvantaged and other traditionally under-served farmers . RMA administers these partnership projects as well as the Federal crop insurance program, with funding and authority from the Federal Crop Insurance Act.
RMA helps producers manage their business risks through effective, market-based risk solutions. RMA's mission is to promote, support, and regulate sound risk management solutions to preserve and strengthen the economic stability of America's agricultural producers. Federal crop insurance provides support to American producers as part of the "farm safety net." A strong farm safety net is important to the vitality of American agriculture.
Complete listings of the agreements can be found on the RMA Web site at: http://www.rma.usda.gov/aboutrma/agreements/.