Brown hopes bill boosts local foods

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, introduced legislation he hopes will help farmers sell their products directly to consumers, and build local and regional food economies.

Brown introduced the bill, which he’s calling The Local Food and Regional Market Supply (FARMS) Act, Oct. 4.

U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine; Jeff Fortenberry, R-Nebraska; and Carolyn Maloney, D-New York, are expected to introduce companion legislation in the House.

What it does

The Local FARMS Act funds and modifies three existing grant programs, which help farmers and others connect their products with local consumers:

  • The Value Added Producer Grant, which provides important resources for farmers to expand into new markets, create new products, and market their existing business.
  • The Local Food Promotion Program, which invests in farmers working to establish or expand local food businesses.
  • The Farmers Market Promotion Program, which works to create and grow farmers market programs to help farmers sell their products directly to local consumers.

The bill also expands the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, which helps seniors access fresh foods at farmers markets and qualifying organizations.

Under Brown’s bill, the program could assist low-income military veterans as well.

Daniel Trudel from Ann’s Raspberry Farm in Fredericktown, Ohio, voiced his support of the legislation. In 2014, Ann’s Raspberry Farm received a Value-Added Producer Grant, which helped them grow their business and enter into new markets around Ohio.

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