HOLLIS – Senator Maggie Hassan, Congressman Chris Pappas, and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today discussed efforts to help small farmers and announced new initiatives to help reduce costs for farmers and support local economies during a roundtable at Brookdale Fruit Farm, a local family-owned and operated farm, which is one of the state’s largest fruit and produce farms.
“New Hampshire’s farms are central to our economy and way of life – encouraging the growth of local businesses and a local workforce, getting people high-quality food, and supporting our tourism industry,” said Senator Hassan. “I was glad to join Agriculture Secretary Vilsack in announcing new support for local farms, and we had a great discussion today on how this program will cut costs for farmers and help them grow their operations. I’ll continue to work with Secretary Vilsack to support our farms, local economies, and rural communities.”
“There couldn't be a more important topic for us to be addressing right now than how we lower the cost of food and other daily expenses for Granite Staters and people across the country,” said Congressman Pappas. “New Hampshire plays an important role in our agriculture industry and our local farms can help us overcome our supply chain and food cost challenges, and USDA’s new Food System Transformation Framework will help. I want to thank Secretary Vilsack for visiting New Hampshire, and I remain committed to working to help our families and small businesses.”
“I’m glad to have had the opportunity to join Senator Hassan, Congressman Pappas, and stakeholders from across the Granite State at Brookdale Fruit Farm this afternoon and highlight the actions USDA is taking to transform our nation’s food system and make it fairer, more competitive and more resilient for both our producers and consumers. With crises like the COVID-19 pandemic and now Russia’s war in Ukraine revealing and intensifying longstanding structural challenges in our food system, this Administration recognizes that we must build back better and strengthen the food system across the supply chain, from how our food is produced to how it is purchased, and all the steps in between,” said Agriculture Secretary Vilsack. “That’s why today, as part of these actions, I was proud to announce significant funding being made available from USDA to help our small and very small producers, many of whom have experienced economic challenges from the pandemic, meet regulatory requirements and access additional markets. By helping mitigate the costs of on-farm food safety certification, this funding will support fair, transparent food systems rooted in local and regional production and provide small-scale producers a real opportunity to bring home a greater share of the food dollar and help create jobs.”
The new Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops Programs that Secretary Vilsack, Senator Hassan, Congressman Pappas, and New Hampshire agriculture leaders discussed today will help cover the cost of food safety programs for specialty crop operations -- which includes products like maple syrup, strawberries, and raspberries. Getting these safety certifications opens up new opportunities for farmers, expanding access to additional markets.