Agricultural & Nutrition Programs
Farm-to-Food Pantry Block Grant Program
Farmroot has introduced an exciting new proposal for a program that would partner specialty crop producers with food banks, food recovery programs, and food pantries. This program would deliver fresh quality produce directly from the farmer to organizations that serve the food insecure.
States would administer this new block grant program to qualifying food banks, food recovery programs, and food pantries. Grant recipients would be required to directly purchase fresh produce from farmers rather than via re-packers or at terminal markets. This new proposed program (which is already being done by some food recovery organizations through private donations) would further strengthen the ties between the agricultural and nutrition titles of the Farm Bill.
Price Transparency Intermediate Fresh Produce Sales
Increased Access To Affordable & Fresh Food, Horticulture Products
There is a vital need to increase the transparency of intermediate sales of fresh produce. Specifically, there is a need for transparency in the price paid to the specialty crop farmers for the raw product instead of the price paid by wholesalers to grower-shipper. Intermediate specialty crop sales are sales made from the farmer to a grower-shipper, wholesaler, broker, distributor, or processor who sells to retail outlets.
All signed tickets/receipts for each specialty crop delivery should be immediately scanned, electronically uploaded, and made available for inspection on the internet to ensure transparency. This is nothing new. It is a fair and accepted business practice throughout the agro-economy.
National Directory of Fresh Produce Wholesalers for Farmers
Information To Drive Competition
To increase competition and access to affordable fresh produce, specialty crop farmers have an immediate need for a nationwide electronic directory of fresh produce wholesalers, produce re-packers, and wholesale outlets, by commodity and region. The directory would empower specialty crop growers by providing more information and options to sell specialty crop products to reach consumers quickly and competitively priced.
Legal & Reliable Work Force
Specialty crops are often labor-intensive in how they are planted, cared for, and harvested. To remain competitive and provide consistent quality products, farmers need access to a reliable, skilled labor force. Farmroot is dedicated to working with all parties to develop legislation, policy, and regulations that consider the realities of producing specialty crops while respecting the needs of farmworkers.
Applied Scientific Research
Increased Funding For Applied Scientific Research To Address Challenges Impacting Specialty Crops
Applied scientific research is the key to improving yields and dealing with various pests that target specialty crops. More funding must be applied for this endeavor on both the state and federal level. Researchers and scientists at the various land grant universities need adequate, consistent funding to develop effective tools to deal with the various challenges facing farmers in the fields, from improved varieties that can better handle the vagaries of a changing climate and erratic weather patterns to research and development for "safer" or more environmentally friendly materials to deal with both new and old pests. Farmroot supports a variety of specialty crop funding methodologies and consistently emphasizes its value and importance.
Rural Program Services
Maintaining a Farmworker & Rural Safety Net
The men and women who work on our farms are a community that requires special programs and services. The federal government and many state governments provide several resources and services specially targeted for this workforce. These programs include daycare centers, healthcare clinics, and various migrant education programs. Continued if not increased, support is vital to maintain the vitally of the specialty crop farming sector. Farmroot strongly believes in the support of these programs and various service providers.
Access To Affordable, Reliable & Effective Insurance
Every farmer has known a sleepless night wondering what will be left in the field after a storm rolls through. Well-designed risk management tools can help mitigate a farmer's anxiety. There are ways to address and reform these policies that provide better insurance coverage for farmers at less cost to the American Taxpayer.
Farmroot has studied this issue for over a decade and has helped refine existing risk management tools. Farmroot is dedicated to identifying products and innovative programs tailored to the unique needs of specialty crops.