Taylor lays out policies supporting Farmers Markets, proposes Food Policy Council

Taylor lays out policies supporting Farmers Markets, proposes Food Policy Council

(JUNE 30, 2014 – FARGO, ND) – Agriculture commissioner candidate Ryan Taylor proposed today a set of policies that will benefit seniors, women, infants, and children, as well as North Dakota farmers and food entrepreneurs. Taylor pointed to current commissioner Doug Goehring’s failure to provide the leadership necessary to keep pace with growing market opportunities for people practicing direct-to-consumer agriculture. North Dakota has simply fallen behind under Goehring, and Taylor promised to turn that around. Taylor released the following statement:

“In 45 states, including Minnesota and Montana, low-income senior citizens currently receive assistance to access fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. Under the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) awards grants that provide 100 percent of funding for these senior citizens to purchase produce at farmers markets, roadside stands, and other community programs. Many of our seniors grew up with gardens and healthy, homegrown produce. We should help our seniors experience those tastes again if they ever find themselves without the level of income it might take to access that local nutrition.”

Further, Taylor stated that as North Dakota’s next agriculture commissioner, he will also opt-in to the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP).

“In 38 states, including Minnesota and Montana, WIC participants currently have access to fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables with supplemental assistance targeted to help both families and farmers. Much like the program for seniors, USDA provides grant funding to cover 100 percent of the food costs so that WIC participants have access to healthy, homegrown produce. Further, USDA supports up to seventy percent of administrative costs. The health benefits to the over 22,000 WIC participants in North Dakota are worth advocating for, and I will be that advocate when I am elected.

“These young children can learn life lessons about where their food comes from when a parent buys directly from North Dakota farmers. Lifelong lessons on healthy eating come from programs like this that offer a helping hand when life might put them in a rough spot,” Taylor added.

The third prong of Taylor’s proposal calls for the creation of a Food Policy Council housed within the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.

“We find ourselves behind the curve on policies that support our food entrepreneurs and the North Dakotans looking to access the food we raise. My Food Policy Council will bring together producers big and small, vendors, distributors, and consumers. This will ensure that every voice in food production, as well as the consumers they serve, is heard, and policies that help us move forward are put on the table sooner so that we are not the last remaining state to serve all needs of agriculture.”

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From: Dem-NPL News

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