Investing in Food Systems: New Regional Food Business Centers announced

Twelve new regional food business centers are on the way. USDA is investing $420 million for processing and distribution capacity to build resilience in local and regional food systems.

Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio shares his excitement for what’s to come.

“We’re excited to announce that Department of Agriculture and USDA has awarded $42.5 million to establish a USDA regional food business center in Appalachian, OH. It will be one of only 12 of these centers across the country,” Sen. Brown said. “The center will work to expand markets for small and mid-size Ohio farms and food businesses. I think you all know that I joined the agriculture committee when I got to the Senate and soon after began to work with Secretary Vilsack, but I joined that committee because here along with the veterans committee that I also serve on, it’s the least partisan, most bipartisan committee in the Senate and we’re able to do all kinds of things. I have worked for much of my 15 or so years here to expand markets for small and mid-sized Ohio farms and food businesses. This is sort of the culmination, this is a really big deal. The center will serve as the regional hub and will connect farmers and small businesses with market opportunities by giving Ohio farmers more tools and support to sell their products, including in their own community, it’s the best way. This investment will go direct to support local farmers and local food production, creates local jobs, and helps keep money in Ohio communities, lifting up farmers and rural communities.”

National Farmers Union President, Rob Larew, also responded to the announcement.

“This is the kind of capacity and investment that we need to make meaningful improvements in our food system. Providing local and regional access to processing and distribution is one avenue to fight back against the rampant consolidation in the agriculture and food sector. Providing support for farmers and ranchers to market their products in their own communities and keep those resources locally is a win for everyone.”

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