Courtesy: USDA [CC BY 2.0]
Consumers who want to know more about where and how their food is raised are creating a bigger voice nationally. The increasing sales of local foods provides a bright spot for agriculture and a way to bring young farmers into agricultural production.
In a recent article put out by Morning Ag Clips, Congresswomen Chellie Pingree, has introduced a bipartisan bill that would ease some of the hurdles small farmers face in the direct marketing of food products they raise.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, over 160,000 U.S. farmers sold $8.7 billion of local food directly to consumers, retailers, institutions, and local distributors in 2015. Of those producers 81 percent sold all their food within 100 miles of their farm.
In rural communities, boosting local and regional markets can have a great impact on local economies and help keep rural families on the farm. New farmers can produce more food products on fewer acres and add value to operations that may have been in the family for years, or on new land where creativity in growing products for sale can provide a good income.
For more information on South Dakota’s local food initiatives, contact Kari O’Neill.