The US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue just announced the launch of a new website giving farmers access to more resources for ensuring their long-term sustainability.
New USDA Website for Farmers
Farmers.gov is going to bring together resources from the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Risk Management Agency in one place online. These are the three agencies that make up the USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation Mission, which includes providing information about the latest technologies to farmers.
According to the USDA, 99 percent of US agriculture is comprised of family farms, and of these 90 percent are small farm businesses. This group faces considerable challenges, and the Office of Advocacy and Outreach (OAO) created by the 2008 Farm Bill, has programs in place with outreach across the USDA for small and beginning farmers and ranchers. Strengthening small farmers is key to ensuring the long-term success of the American agricultural economy, which is one of the reasons Farmers.org was established.
With the new USDA website, farmers will be able to find news, information, regulations and the latest technology in the industry. Secretary Perdue said his first nine months in office taught him the concerns farmers had regarding technology usage in the delivery of USDA programs.
In a press release, Perdue said, “Many farmers are out in their fields using equipment that is connected to satellite and GPS technology, yet when they need to interact with USDA, they have to stop, fill out a paper form, and fax or carry it to their local office.” He added, “It’s my goal to make USDA the most effective, most efficient, most customer-focused department in the entire federal government, and Farmers.gov is a big step in that direction.”
American farmers, ranchers and private foresters can now use the website to find the resources they need, including agricultural programs, information, tools and personal advice. The site was built with suggestions from farmers, with tools such as service center locator, customer and mobile-friendly digital forms, a calendar of local events and program due dates and program descriptions with an interactive requirements tool.
The site is open for business, but more features are being added in the coming months, including the ability to make appointments with USDA offices, file forms and apply for USDA programs.
Preserving American Farms
The Farm Production and Conservation Mission work along with the USDA by providing financial and technical assistance along with lending and disaster programs. This includes market-based risk management tools, Federal crop insurance, and risk management education programs so farmers can compete and thrive in local, national or international markets far into the future.
As Perdue said, “The only legacy I seek is the only one that any grandparent or parent seeks — to be good stewards, and to hand off our nation, our home, our fields, our forests and our farms to the next generation in better shape than we found it.”