FCS Diversity and Inclusion - PROPOSED RULE - MARCH 2011 Dear Mr. Van Meter,
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on FCA 76 Fed. Reg. 30280, (May 25, 2011). 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
The Organic Farmers' Agency for Relationship Marketing, Inc. (OFARM) is a marketing-agency-in-common and operates as an association of farmer cooperatives/associations with organic producers in 18 states. Specifically we support: 1. 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. 2. A plan for developing lending and business support products with terms and benefits appropriate for local and regional food producers. 3. 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.
For example, we know from our organic livestock producers that there are weaknesses in being able to provide local and regionally grown grass-fed beef to consumers, even though demand is increasing. Again, thank you for the opportunity to comment. Sincerely, John Bobbe, OFARM Executive Director