FCS Diversity and Inclusion - PROPOSED RULE - MARCH 2011 Dear Mr. Van Meter,
Small to medium size farms desperatly need captial to work with. I urge that FCS institutions create a baseline analysis of producers who meet the farm bill definition of local and regional food producers by number of borrowers, by loan volume, and other key characteristics. That a minimum investment goal for local and regional food producers of 10% of the institution’s capital within 5 years. Establish a plan for conducting outreach to local and regional food producers and a commitment to adding local and regional food producers to the FCS board. Impletment a requirement that the marketing plan and periodic progress reports be made public. Add a plans for providing staff development training to FCS personnel across the full spectrum of lending, accounting, farm transfer and business planning services appropriate for serving local and regional food producers, for developing lending and business support products with terms and benefits appropriate for local and regional food producers. And finally conduct an inventory of strengths and weaknesses of the local and regional food infrastructure within the bank’s territory and a plan for leveraging the public and private capital necessary to address those weaknesses.