U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts of Kansas , Saxby Chambliss from Georgia and John McCain of Arizona recently sent a letter to U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack expressing concern about the department’s emphasis on local food systems at the expense of conventional production agriculture. USDA has heavily promoted the “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” program. The senators suggested while the concept of educating consumers about production agriculture is a worthwhile endeavor, they have serious reservations about the direction of the Know Your Farmer initiative.

“Unfortunately, this spending doesn’t appear geared toward conventional farmers who produce the vast majority of our nation’s food supply, but is instead aimed at small, hobbyist and organic producers whose customers generally consist of affluent patrons at urban farmers markets,” the senators wrote.

Roberts and his U.S. Senate peers told Vilsack given the nation’s crippling budget crisis, the federal government can’t afford to spend vital rural development funds on “feel-good measures which are completely detached from the realities of production agriculture.”

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