FCS Diversity and Inclusion - PROPOSED RULE - MARCH 2011 Dear Mr. Van Meter,
Given the upcoming revisions that the Farm Credit Administration is considering, I would like to voice my opinion. Big business farming makes it very hard for local and regional farming operations to become established given limited funding and competition from large scale production. I believe local and regional businesses are what will strengthen our economy and in turn our world. We can no longer allow capitalism, politicism and militarism to control our future. We are on the verge of a revolution that will rebuild our world through local sustainable economies. I believe sustainable agriculture is imperative to insuring world security, environmental justice and the future of our world. As a Landscape Architect and future Certified Organic Farmer (in program currently at Michigan State University), I feel it is imperative that we reconnect communities with the life sustaining earth as a resource and not a commodity to be exploited. At the same time we can educate and rebuild communities thus empowering people to bring about real changes to our current troubled social structure. I hope to facilitate positive change for my children's future.
Please consider including the following revisions to future Farm Credit systems services;
1. A requirement that each FCS institution 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.
2. An investment goal for local and regional food producers of not less than 10% of each institution’s capital within 5 years.
3. A plan for conducting outreach to local and regional food producers.
4. A requirement that such an outreach plan and periodic progress reports be made public.
5. A commitment to adding local and regional food producers to the FCS board.
6. A plan 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.
7. A plan for developing lending and business support products with terms and benefits appropriate for local and regional food producers.
8. 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.
Thank you for your efforts to making our world a better place for the future generations.