International Fresh Produce Association's Robert Guenther Discusses USDA's Food System Transformation Framework
WASHINGTON, DC & NEWARK, DE - Yesterday, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) pulled back the curtain on a comprehensive plan to transform the food system for the benefit of consumers, suppliers, and rural communities. The newly announced framework seeks to increase access and create new and better markets for small and mid-sized producers. Following this announcement, the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) issued a response outlining the aspects of the blueprint that are most likely to impact the fresh produce and floral industries.
“We applaud the USDA on their ambitious approach shared in the ‘Food System Transformation Framework’ to achieve a more fair, competitive, and resilient food system,” said Chief Public Policy Officer Robert Guenther. “We have seen a variety of global disruptions expose many weaknesses in our U.S. and global food system. We look forward to the rollout of the plan that will focus on creating a more sustainable and resilient system that recognizes the importance for farmers to remain profitable while also expanding access to nutritious food for all.”
According to a press release, IFPA’s Government Relations and Food Safety experts reviewed the framework and have highlighted several key aspects of the plan that are most likely to impact our supply chain.
Some of those highlights related to production and processing include:
- $200 million for Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops Program for specialty crop operations that incur eligible on-farm food safety program expenses to offset compliance costs of regulatory requirements and market-driven food safety certification requirements
- Up to $600 million in financial assistance to support food supply chain infrastructure aimed at independently owned and available infrastructures such as cold storage, refrigerated trucks, and processing facilities are in short supply
- Up to $300 million in a new Organic Transition Initiative to provide comprehensive support for farmers to transition to organic production through technical assistance, including farmer-to-farmer mentoring
- $400 million to create regional food business centers that will provide coordination, technical assistance, and capacity-building support to small and mid-size food and farm businesses
To read more about the USDA’s strategic framework, click here.
IFPA will continue to monitor the rollout of the Food System Transformation Framework with a focus on maximizing opportunities for members and the produce and floral communities. More information on IFPA’s priority issues can be found here.
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