WASHINGTON, DC –U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), ranking member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, raised questions about the “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative, saying it isn’t steeped in reality since most food Americans consume isn’t grown locally.
“This report highlights one of the fastest growing sectors in agriculture, and I commend farmers and ranchers around the country for taking advantage of opportunities to add value to their products by selling locally and regionally,” said Roberts. “While I appreciate the intent of USDA’s initiatives, the fact of the matter is the vast majority of food consumed in this country is not grown locally. Kansans enjoy bananas and coconuts, but they can’t walk into church every Sunday and shake the banana and coconut producer’s hand.
“According to this report, at least 30 programs across nine agencies are working on the same goal. This is the definition of redundancy. The federal government must be more responsible with hard earned taxpayer dollars.
“We must answer the question ‘where do we get the most bang for the taxpayer buck?’ Consumer demand is driving this growth and should be applauded. But policy makers must ask with such dramatic private sector growth would taxpayer dollars be better invested elsewhere, like research, pest and disease management that help the entire industry, rather than one particular farmers ’ market.”
Senator Roberts’ comments follow the U.S. Department of Agriculture releasing a report about the “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative.
The Senate Agriculture Committee will be addressing this issue at a hearing next week. You can click here for more information on the hearing.