Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced legislation to create jobs in the agriculture industry by enhancing local food systems and encouraging production of food for local communities. According to USDA, local food sales now account for $5 billion annually.
"Local farms are job creators in our communities," said Senator Casey. "This bill will support small farms in Pennsylvania, which are an essential source of economic activity and are vital to getting healthy, local food from farm to table."
The Growing Opportunities for Agriculture and Responding to Markets (GO FARM) Act of 2013 will authorize the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide low-interest loans to economic development organizations, which will in turn make small, low-interest loans to producers who grow crops for local markets like schools, stores, and farmers markets. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) is also a co-sponsor of this legislation.
In addition to supporting jobs in local agriculture, the GO FARM Act will help enhance the growing movement toward buying local products and ensure that local producers are supported.
Supporters of the GO FARM Act include: the National Farmers Union, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the Fay-Penn Economic Development Council, the American Sustainable Business Council and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture.
Senator Casey is a strong supporter of Pennsylvania's agriculture industry and believes small farms are a vital segment of the industry.
Senator Casey is also a cosponsor of the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act to bolster farm to table food systems. The bill will support job creation by improving federal programs that support local and regional farm and food systems. This legislation will help farmers and ranchers engaged in local and regional agriculture by addressing production, aggregation, processing, marketing, and distribution needs. This legislation will also assist consumers by improving access to healthy food and direct and retail markets, and will provide more secure funding for critically important programs that support family farms, expand new farming opportunities, and invest in the local agriculture economy.