Small businesses make up over 70% of U.S. farms. The House Small Business Committee heard the concerns of those producers and rural organizations Thursday to determine their role in the 2007 Farm Bill.
"Small family farms are a critical part of rural communities, creating long-term stability and supporting entrepreneurship in the communities around them," says Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez. "We need to increase opportunity in rural areas, develop local resources, and sustain economic growth."
Many rural communities are dealing with declining populations and wages, and at the hearing, witnesses emphasized the need for high-quality economic growth.
Witnesses emphasized fruits and vegetables as potential new markets for small producers and, therefore, jobs and economic activity. Small companies urged support for alternatives like cellulosic ethanol, and for infrastructure to further develop the industry.
"In this year's Farm Bill, the stakes are high for small producers and agribusinesses - and it is critical that they are involved in this debate," says Chairwoman Velázquez. "Expanding markets and spurring opportunities for family farmers will help create a sustainable, prosperous future for rural areas nationwide."