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John Shea, 202-690-0437

WASHINGTON, Aug 28, 2007 - USDA's Office of Outreach recently presented RMA's Office of Civil Rights and Community Outreach with the 2007 Partners Award at the August 2nd Fourth Annual Partners Meeting in Arlington, VA. RMA's Eastern Regional Outreach Specialist Ron Brown accepted the award for the Agency.

RMA was recognized for providing outreach, education, and training to build risk management capacity and greater access to risk management strategies for limited-resource farmers and ranchers. Charles White, Regional Marketing Specialist, USDA Office of Outreach, nominated RMA for the award. 'RMA has been an influential and instrumental USDA partner in implementing the USDA/Health and Human Services Memorandum of Understanding, which targets refugee immigrants. RMA has worked with staff of the Office of Outreach to ensure that USDA's resources are brought to bear on the needs of refugee farmers,' White said.

RMA was also recognized for other increased efforts:

  • RMA conducted a follow-up conversation at the 2007 Partners Meeting focused on critical risk management issues likely to affect small and socially disadvantaged producers (SDP). The conversation addressed managing farm risk, including its relation to estate planning, record keeping, and natural disasters. Among the presenters at the meeting were SDPs who have used risk management products successfully, and those that still find barriers in effectively using the program.
  • RMA provided $5,000 in funding to a small, community-based Florida organization attempting to help farm workers, in particular those desiring to transition from farm worker to farm owner/producer, learn about farm risks.
  • RMA will convene a national Risk Management Strategies for Small Farms and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers conference in Milwaukee, September 13-15, 2007, in partnership with Growing Power, a minority-owned, community-based organization. The conference will promote the success and viability of small and beginning farmers and ranchers in learning how to be sustainable in their local community in light of the larger agricultural and global economy. RMA is partnering with other groups such as Honor the Earth, White Earth Land Recovery Project, and the Center for Rural Affairs of Lyons, Nebraska, to broaden its outreach through other conferences.

In addition to RMA, USDA outreach partners include the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Farm Service Agency, the Agricultural Marketing Service, the Agricultural Research Service, the Economic Research Service, the Food Safety and Inspection Service, Rural Development, the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, the Food and Nutrition Service, and the Office of Outreach.