Nick McWilliams reporting – The United States Department of Agriculture is establishing the Appalachian Regional Food Business Center in partnership with Rural Action from Ohio.

The RFBC will focus on strengthening local food systems, which in turn will allow farmers to sell more product in their community.

Senator Sherrod Brown, who hosted United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for a conference call related to the partnership, stating that he feels it will be a hands off approach by the federal government to allow communities to make decisions.

“It’s recognizing our communities know best with what they need. It’s about opportunity in all the places too often overlooked in Washington, and most of the time exploited by corporate America. It will work together with our efforts in the Farm Bill that we discussed last month to make it easier for farmers to feed their communities and for consumers to buy Ohio food.”

Vilsack said that the new partnership will create new market opportunities that he says can improve farm income and create more good paying jobs.

Funding from the USDA will be used by Rural Action to expand and provide technical assistance resources. The RFBC will be in Ohio and neighboring states like West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

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