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Jo Lynne Seufer, 509-228-6320


SPOKANE, WA, Oct 5, 2011 - Washington State has 39,000 farms and ranches, and all face multiple business and production risks ranging from rapidly changing markets to occurrences of natural disasters. And in some cases, it is the small-scale farms and ranches that face additional challenges to being profitable.

It was that thought that prompted Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) Food Safety and Consumer Services Division (formerly Small Farm Division) to apply to partner with RMA through a Community Outreach and Assistance Partnership. WSDA developed a series of Farm Wisdom: Managing Risks on Small Farms videos to aid producers in minimizing risk in small farm businesses.

The videos offer information and tips directly from farmers, discussing everything from alternative energy on small farms, crop insurance, to poultry processing facilities that meet WSDA licensing requirements. Viewing these videos, farmers can gain insights on what it takes to implement cost-saving measures or comply with regulations. Production practices, direct marketing strategies, business planning, crop insurance, energy conservation practices, regulations for raw and processed products are all featured in this video series.

"Farmers featured in these testimonial and educational videos are leaders in utilizing innovative and viable business and production practices to manage risk," Said RMA's Dave Paul, Director of the Spokane Regional Office. "It's partnerships like these with WSDA that will help safeguard and expand agriculture's success now and in the future."

The RMA partnership included funding of mobile workshops, hosted by a diverse set of small-scale producers, which sought to help farmers learn first-hand about strategies to reduce farm risk.

According to Patrice Barrentine, Outreach and Education Coordinator with WSDA's Food Safety and Consumer Services Division, more than 200 Washington farmers participated in 16 workshops. "We found the information to be so beneficial that we began filming them in order to reach more farmers. Our partnership with RMA enabled us to connect significantly with small-scale farmers and ranchers with outreach that demonstrates practical ways to reduce risk on the farm."

"RMA is excited about the success of these videos produced by WSDA, one of which is in Spanish," Paul added. 'We encourage farmers and agricultural professionals alike to view and share with others as we work towards building and maintaining sustainable small-scale farms." Paul is featured on the RMA video on crop insurance.

The Federal crop insurance program and RMA's Risk Management Education and Outreach programs together help ensure that farmers and ranchers will weather the perils of nature and the marketplace and continue in business, thus ensuring the food supply and the survival of small, limited resource, socially disadvantaged and other traditionally under-served farmers. RMA administers these partnership projects as well as the Federal crop insurance program with funding and authority from the Federal Crop Insurance Act.

See WSDA's Farm Wisdom video series to view the topics, descriptions and watch the videos featuring several innovative and generous Washington State small farmers.