USDA seeking members for panel on urban agriculture

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Farm Forum

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking members for a new advisory committee on urban agriculture. The 12-person committee will advise the secretary of agriculture on the development of policies and outreach relating to urban, indoor, and other emerging agricultural production practices as well as identify any barriers to urban agriculture.

“We are looking forward to a robust group of nominees to serve on this important new advisory committee,” said Bill Northey, USDA’s under secretary for farm production and conservation. “This group will underscore USDA’s commitment to all segments of agriculture and has the potential to support innovative ways to increase local food production in urban environments.”

USDA is seeking nominations for individuals representing a broad spectrum of expertise, including:

  • Four agricultural producers (two agricultural producers in an urban area or urban cluster and two agricultural producers who use innovative technology).
  • Two representatives from an institution of higher education or extension program.
  • One representative of a nonprofit organization, which may include a public health, environmental or community organization.
  • One representative of business and economic development, which may include a business development entity, a chamber of commerce, a city government or a planning organization.
  • One individual with supply chain experience, which may include a food aggregator, wholesale food distributor, food hub or an individual who has direct-to-consumer market experience.
  • One individual from a financing entity.
  • Two individuals with related experience or expertise in urban, indoor and other emerging agriculture production practices, as determined by the Secretary.

Any interested person or organization may nominate qualified individuals for membership. Self-nominations are also welcome.

Nominations should include a cover letter, resume and a background form. Nomination packages must be submitted by mail or email by March 5. They should be addressed to Ronald Harris, Designated Federal Officer, Director of Outreach and Partnerships, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Room 6006-S, Washington, D.C. 20250, or emailed to Ronald.Harris@usda.gov.

The 2018 Farm Bill established the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production and directed USDA to form this advisory committee as well as make other advancements related to urban agriculture. It is led by the NRCS and works in partnership with numerous USDA agencies that support urban agriculture. Its mission is to encourage and promote urban, indoor and other emerging agricultural practices, including community composting and food waste reduction.