USDA Sets Out Framework, Details Progress Toward Transforming US Food and Farm System

Statement by Ricardo Salvador, Director, Food and Environment Program, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Jun 1, 2022

Media Contact

WASHINGTON (June 1, 2022)—The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced a framework for transforming our food system through federal investments in a more resilient, competitive and equitable food system across the supply chain. The announcement builds on earlier steps in the administration’s first year, and includes over $2 billion in new funding to support urban agriculture, create regional food business centers to support small and mid-size food and farm businesses, facilitate Farm to School meal programs, implement SNAP technology improvements, and more.

Below is a statement by Dr. Ricardo Salvador, director of the Food and Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“This package of investments touches nearly every aspect of our food system, from our farms to our tables: how our food is produced and processed, how it is distributed, and who has access to healthy, affordable food. USDA continues to demonstrate its commitment to confronting rampant consolidation in the meat and poultry processing industry by increasing competition through new and expanded local and regional capacity that enables farmers and ranchers to negotiate better prices.

“Taken together, these initiatives and investments represent a big step toward a truly transformative food and farming system. That Secretary Vilsack and the Biden administration recognize the need to transform our food system to be more resilient to disruption and more equitable is a critical step. And there is much more to be done.

“Of the many ways to transform our food and farm system, the next 5-year Farm Bill reauthorization remains our greatest opportunity. While ultimately determined by Congress, Secretary Vilsack and President Biden can and should advocate for a Farm Bill that brings our food system in the 21st century by ensuring our food system is resilient in the face of a changing climate, supporting local and regionalized food systems that are less vulnerable to disruption, and addressing a long history of racialized exclusion, discrimination and exploitation across our food system.”