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agriculture

Preserving Local Farms, Protecting Open Spaces, and Growing the Rhode Island Food Economy

Senator Reed works hard to support family farmers and keep Rhode Island’s sustainable agriculture and food sectors growing.  He has led efforts to help preserve the state’s farmland and open spaces for future generations.

Today, there are 1,200 farms in Rhode Island, and according to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Rhode Island’s agriculture and plant-based industries support over 23,000 jobs and contribute nearly $3.5 billion to the economy each year.

Recognizing that a robust agricultural sector is vital to public, environmental, and economic health, Senator Reed helped pass the Agriculture and Nutrition Act (also known as the 'Farm Bill') to support small farms, farmers’ markets, local food production, and conservation efforts across Rhode Island.

KEY PRIORITIES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • Senator Reed helped secure a $600,000 USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant to help new farmers access critical resources, tools, and training, so the next generation of Rhode Island farmers can thrive and succeed.
  • Reed supported Farm Fresh RI’s successful bid for the “Farmers to Families Food Box” program, which connected farmers and food producers to bring boxes containing fresh, local vegetables, fruit, milk, yogurt, and cheeses to Rhode Islanders in need.  The “Farmers to Families Food Box” program has helped distribute over 175,000 food boxes to Rhode Island families.
  • Reed helped secure over $275,000 in Specialty Crop Block Grants to grow Rhode Island’s ‘specialty crop’ sector, which includes fruits, vegetables, and horticulture and nursery crops.  These federal funds support specialty crop research, education, training, and market development.
  • In the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Senator Reed helped to secure the inclusion of several food-related initiatives in federal relief packages, bringing over $3.5 million to the state to support Rhode Island’s agriculture, fishing, and food industries.

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