Sign up for weekly e-bulletins:
Programs > Agriculture & Food: Focus on the Farm Bill > Local Farms, Food & Jobs: New Legislation

Local Farms, Food & Jobs: New Legislation




Local and regional agriculture is a major driver in the farm economy.  Producers are responding to skyrocketing demand for local and regional food by increasing production, creating new markets, and launching new businesses. Locally marketed foods accounted for an estimated $4.8 billion in gross sales in 2008, the number of farmers markets nationwide jumped 17 percent in 2011, and all 50 states now have farm-to-school programs.  Despite these opportunities, significant infrastructure, marketing, and information barriers are limiting growth in local and regional agriculture.

The Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act will drive economic growth by:

• Creating economic opportunities for farmers and ranchers through local and regional markets.

• Improving processing and distribution infrastructure for local and regional agriculture.

• Expanding access to healthy food for consumers, including underserved communities.

• Providing research, training, and information that farm entrepreneurs need to be successful.





Why It Matters

• Small, mid-sized, and large farm businesses currently sell through local markets and will benefit from investments in local and regional agriculture.

• Empirical research shows that expanding local agriculture in a community can increase employment and income in that community.

• Every two jobs created at a farmers market supports an additional job in another sector of the local economy.

• The bill’s investment in local and regional agriculture amounts to less than one-sixth of one percent of USDA’s budget, yet will address the needs of a large and growing sector of American agriculture. 





A Primer on the Farm Bill

Action Timeline in Congress

Advocating Our Values

Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

Commodity Programs

Conservation Programs

Crop Insurance Subsidies

Food Assistance and Nutrition Programs

Market Concentration & Livestock Operations

Renewable Energy from Farms

Research, Education and Extension

Rural Development

Sustainable Agriculture: Nation's New Foundation