SANTA FE, NM – The US Department of Agriculture has expanded its efforts to help small- and mid-sized farmers and ranchers access federal resources.

During remarks at the National Farmers Union National Convention in Santa Fe, NM, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack detailed USDA's initiatives aimed at helping small and mid-sized agriculture businesses strengthen their businesses and expand into larger markets.

Vilsack said USDA has improved access to resources and revised risk management tools to accommodate smaller producers. Additionally, USDA has increased support for hoop houses and expanded the agency's collection of market news information. USDA field staff will be increasing outreach efforts, and the agency is launching a series of education tools focusing on opportunities for farmers in local and regional food systems.

"The recent Census of Agriculture shows that there is tremendous growth potential for small and mid-sized producers in the American agricultural landscape," Vilsack said. "USDA is taking a hard look at our existing resources to ensure that they work for producers of all sizes. We've adjusted policies, strengthened programs and intensified outreach to meet the needs of small and mid-sized producers. These producers are critical to our country's agricultural and economic future."

More information is available atUSDA's Small and Mid-Sized Farmer Resources website.