The United States Department of Agriculture plans to announce that it will spend $52 million to support local and regional food systems like farmers’ markets and food hubs and to spur research on organic farming.
The $52 million will be the first outlay to local and organic enterprises of the farm bill signed into law by President Obama in February, which tripled the amount of money aimed at that sector to $291 million. The organic business, which has long complained that the agriculture department does not support it financially, will get $125 million over the next five years for research and $50 million for conservation programs.
“It’s a really nice bump for us because we’ve been getting chump change for research,” said Mark Kastel, co-founder of the Cornucopia Institute, an organic research and advocacy group.
Still, Mr. Kastel said that given the growth in the organic business, with about $35 billion in sales in the United States last year, he wished there was more money to study organic practices.
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