FCS Diversity and Inclusion - PROPOSED RULE - MARCH 2011 Dear Mr. Van Meter,
Thank you for this opportunity to provide comment on ways the FCS can better serve small and midsized, local and regional food producers. We support your efforts to diversify the FCS loan portfolio and would ask that in defining what needs to be included in FCS marketing plans that you include:
A plan for developing lending and business support products with terms and benefits appropriate for local and regional food producers (get their input on this, not just what you think it will be or should be - focus groups are good for this.
A plan for helping local and regional food producers connect with one another, providing opportunities for networking and education.
An investment target for local and regional food producers of not less than 25% of each institution’s capital within 4 years.
An inventory of strengths and weaknesses of financing for local and regional food infrastructure (aggregation, processing, distributing, etc.) and an FCA plan for how to use FCS local and regional food producer financing to leverage other public and private capital necessary to address the larger weaknesses in the rest of the local and regional food supply chain. We need to get some money to these folks for God's sake (as well as our own). Check out the slow money movement: http://www.slowmoney.org/
Julie Sergovic 11 LEIGHTON TER UPPER DARBY, PA 19082