USDA releases new Specialty Crop Competitiveness Initiative

The USDA has announced enhanced efforts to support growers through the Specialty Crop Competitiveness Initiative.

Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small says the process started with a department-wide audit of how it currently supports the sector.

“We’ve used that information as well as feedback from industry stakeholders to be better equipped to address gaps in service and to achieve goals of the initiative, and better meet the needs of industry,” she shares.

A new webpage and resource directory have been created to streamline access for producers.

“There are a lot of programs, but sometimes they can be hard to find and that’s why this resource is going to be so important because it will help farmers navigate to find what programs might be available to fit their specific need,” she says.

Torres Small tells Brownfield the agency is taking comments from stakeholders until March which she says will be used to help address program shortfalls and other problems like distribution gaps within the supply chain.

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