Brown, Braun want to strengthen supply chains


WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Mike Braun (R-IN) introduced bipartisan legislation that would help lower food costs by strengthening the infrastructure and supply chains that farmers and food businesses depend on to get their products to market. The Food Supply Chain Capacity and Resiliency Act would expand the Department of Agriculture’s Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program to support new investments in America’s food supply chain by providing low-interest loans to businesses investing in food supply chain operations and prioritizes investments in rural or economically distressed areas.

“Ohioans know how supply chain disruptions cause shortages and raise prices,” said Brown. “By strengthening our food supply chains, we can prevent delays that drive up prices while making it easier for Ohio farmers and food businesses to get their products onto the shelves in stores at competitive prices that work for Ohio families.”

“Supporting our Hoosier farmers that put food on the table for Americans is vital to our nation’s food security. I’m proud to lead this bill with Sen. Brown to prioritize investments in rural communities in Indiana and across the country so we can maintain a strong domestic food supply chain and lower food costs,” said Braun.

Disruptions to the food supply chain have affected millions of Americans, from transporters and distributors to consumers at the grocery store. The Food Supply Chain Capacity and Resiliency Act would address the disruptions and lack of capital access by investing in domestic infrastructure for food production, aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storage, transportation, wholesaling, and distribution to increase capacity and create a more resilient, diverse, and secure U.S. food supply chain.

The legislation is endorsed by the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, the Controlled Environment Agriculture Alliance, the Breakthrough Institute, Regenerate America, National Cooperative Business Association, the American Sustainable Business Network, LandCore, the International Fresh Produce Association, National Fisheries Institute and National Rural Lenders Association.

“As Senators Brown and Braun recognize, bringing year-round food production back to American communities requires investment in new technologies, which the Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program supports,” says Jed Portman, Senior Manager, Public Affairs at 80 Acres Farms, a vertical farming company based in Hamilton, Ohio. Before an earlier version of the program was rescinded, 80 Acres Farms used it to finance its newest and largest farm, which has increased the company’s output dramatically. “The U.S. just became a net importer of food, but USDA guaranteed loans can help innovative domestic producers reverse that trend, for a healthier, more sustainable, and more secure future. The 80 Acres Farms produce in stores across the Midwest and Southeast is proof.”

“We strongly commend the bipartisan leadership shown my Senators Brown and Braun in introducing this legislation. The last few years have served as a stern reminder of the importance of our food supply chains. Ensuring permanent funding for USDA’s Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program will benefit cooperatives looking to access the program to improve their businesses,” said Chuck Conner, president and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.

“The CEA Alliance applauds Senators Sherrod Brown and Mike Braun for working together to ensure that America’s indoor farming industry has the financial tools it needs to continue to grow and scale,” said Tom Stenzel, Executive Director for the CEA Alliance. “Indoor farming is helping to build a more resilient fresh food supply chain. It is critical that the next farm bill enhances and makes permanent the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program so that producers can access valuable financing to help the industry grow.”

Brown has long fought to strengthen domestic supply chains and bring down prices for Ohioans. In December, Brown introduced the Grocery, Farm, and Food Worker Stabilization Act which would protect food supply chains and prevent disruptions during disasters by providing support to cover disaster-related costs for farm, grocery, and meatpacking workers. Brown has also worked to strengthen supply chains for domestic auto dealers and drug manufacturers.

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