Sen. Debbie Stabenow Unveils Urban Agriculture Act of 2016

In a twitter update yesterday, Senate Ag Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) indicated that, “Today I’m announcing the Urban Agriculture Act of 2016 that will help urban farmers!”

A news release yesterday explained that, “[Sen. Stabenow] today announced the most comprehensive urban agriculture bill to be introduced in Congress. The Urban Agriculture Act of 2016 will help create new economic opportunities, giving Michigan families greater access to healthy food and creating a healthier environment in cities and towns across our state. The legislation addresses the unique needs of urban farmers by investing new resources and increasing flexibility through existing programs administered by the [USDA].”

The release added that the legislation would provide new financial tools and support to urban farmers including-

Loans: Expands existing USDA farm loan programs so urban farmers can cover new farm related activities that improve their business. Now urban farmers can use farm loans to finance food production, marketing, and value-added processing.

Risk Management Tools: Provides a new affordable risk management tool for urban farmers to protect against crop losses, taking into account the risks, food prices and contracts unique to urban farms.

New Urban Ag Office: Creates a new urban agriculture office at USDA to coordinate urban agriculture policies across the Department and provide urban farmers with technical assistance.”

And Dana Afana reported yesterday at MichiganLive Online that, “The bill would boost farming cooperatives, encourage rooftop and vertical farms, invest $10 million in research exploring market opportunities for urban agriculture and develop technologies for lowering energy and water needs.”

Ms. Afana added that, “The bill would also increase access to healthy foods with a $5 million investment for tools to develop community gardens and connect farms with families and neighbors.

“Resources would also be provided for best practices in soil remediation, urban composting and reducing waste that would go into landfills.”

This entry was posted in Agriculture Law. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.