National Farmers Union encouraged by USDA’s food security investment

The National Farmers Union is pleased with the news that USDA will invest $1 billion in food security.

NFU President Rob Larew says the USDA is building on lessons learned early in the pandemic to improve food purchases and emergency food distribution.

“They had to get creative (during the pandemic) and had the food box program and other ways to connect folks to food and engage local growers,” he says. “I think this is trying to build on that success, make it more efficient, and will hopefully benefit growers and the folks that need it. We’re encouraged by what they’ve been doing so far.”

He tells Brownfield it’s an important step in addressing long-term challenges.   

“We certainly think it’s a positive step for a couple of reasons— our farmer members support making sure people aren’t going hungry, it creates demand for the products that we produce, and it shows an investment by the USDA in continuing to make sure that whether it’s urban, suburban, or rural areas that they’re doing everything possible to make sure folks have access to good food,” he says. “The other piece of this is it also shows that USDA is looking at the long-term and making sure there is an investment in things like cold storage so that as we have farm products that can make it to food pantries, that food pantries are able to keep it and make sure they can get those products to people before it goes bad.”

Larew says he believes the investment will be better focused and get the help where it’s needed the most.

The USDA says $500 million will bolster The Emergency Food Assistance Program, $100 million will fund infrastructure grants, and $400 million will support local, regional, or socially disadvantaged farmers.

Audio: Rob Larew

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