The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s support for local agriculture is now all over the map and every direction on the compass.
To demonstrate that, the U.S. Department of Agriculture unveiled the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass.
The Web-based document and map highlights the agency’s support for local and regional food projects, according to a news release.
The USDA hosted a web seminar about the Compass Feb. 29, and took questions about the tool on Twitter.
“The KYF Compass highlights how USDA support for local and regional food systems has brought additional opportunities to our country’s farmers, ranchers, processors, distributors and food entrepreneurs,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in the USDA news release
The map shows local food infrastructure, USDA support for food hubs, cold storage facilities, local food processors and other features.
The USDA launched the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative in September 2009 to coordinate USDA resources and expertise on local and regional food systems, according to a news release. The Know Your Farmer Compass details the ways that USDA has coordinated support for the program across 17 different agencies and met congressional mandates from the 2008 farm bill on local and regional food, according to the release.
The USDA has received some criticism from House Republicans about the agency’s Know Your Farmer program.
“(The Food Compass) is USDA’s response to criticism from the House side,” said Nancy Foster, president of the Vienna, Va.-based U.S. Apple Association.
House Republicans wanted more evidence from the agency that the program benefits production agriculture, Foster said.