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Groups Lobby For Small Farm Funding
Small and specialty crop farms account for about one-fifth of farms in the United States.
Rudy Arredondo is president and founder of the National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Association. He spent the early part of this week on Capitol Hill lobbying for funding for smaller farms.
"The big agriculture is the one that gets all the attention. I mean that’s the 500-pound gorilla. And so they get the bulk of the amount of subsidies that are out there," Arrendondo said.
He said tracking down small farms requires word of mouth as well as working with groups such as Arizona-based Chicanos Por La Causa.
Arredondo said it’s important that small farms are counted and registered federally so they have access to USDA programs.
"I have seen, over my 40 years, the neglect of rural communities. We have a tremendous amount of deficiencies in terms of infrastructure, in terms of the maintenance, we have young people who have left the area," he said.
Counting the number of small farms is a prerequisite for federal funding.
Arredondo said the number is hard to capture because producers are out in the field and not paying attention to governmental offices and programs. His group is lobbying for something called capacity funding to help locate small farms across the U.S.