On May 23, 2017, the President issued his recommendations for the Federal Fiscal Year 2018 budget. This budget is meant to influence both the Senate and House as they draft their own versions of the federal budget and move it through the legislative process.
One area of proposed change in the President’s budget is the elimination of the USDA’s Rural Development Mission Area and Under Secretary. This proposal would cut all funding for USDA Rural Business programs, including Value Added Producer Grants, ATTRA, Rural Business Development Grants, and more. For an analysis of what this means for Rural America, visit the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s blog.
These programs are important to MIFMA and our members. For example, funding from the Rural Business Development Grant has allowed MIFMA to conduct an economic impact analysis of 7 farmers markets in 6 rural communities this past year. Participating markets benefited by collecting data that can demonstrate the market’s impacts on the community and can be used to inform future decisions about expansion, the addition or enhancement of facilities, and/or to identify and evaluate new opportunities.
This work leads to a partnership with the Farmers Market Coalition to create the Farmers Market Metrics Portal which allows Michigan farmers markets to collect standardized data and measure impacts in a user-friendly environment. Standardizing this processes will allow MIFMA to understand the scope of impacts farmers markets across Michigan have on jobs, tourism, agriculture, food access, and the economy.
Programs and projects like this will be in jeopardy if these cuts occur.
Take Action- Sign on before Friday, June 9
To show your support for these programs, please sign-on to a letter of support prepared by the National Rural Housing Coalition no later than this Friday, June 9. This letter has the ability to demonstrate support from all over the country and from a wide variety of stakeholders including farmers markets and the farmers and vendors that sell at farmers markets. Please consider adding your name to the list of supporters.