WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is proud to provide a wide range of services that promote the marketing of U.S. agricultural products throughout the United States and the world. In 2019 AMS supported both new and established industries through its efforts to create national standards for agricultural products and to improve tools and resources for our customers.
“This year AMS supported new market opportunities for farmers and ranchers and also continued our efforts to improve and modernize resources to better serve our customers,” said AMS Administrator Bruce Summers. “Whether it’s a dairy product, your favorite fruit, vegetable or nut, the meat you grill, or even the cotton in your clothes, it’s likely that an AMS employee worked with industry to ensure products with a USDA shield or label meet standards you can trust.”
In 2019 AMS established or strengthened a broad set of programs including:
U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program
In October, AMS established a program to enable the domestic production of hemp nationwide for the first time in nearly 80 years. The ability to grow hemp represents a new economic opportunity for our farmers and will pave the way for new products and markets over time. With the establishment of regulations for the production of hemp, AMS provided a consistent regulatory framework for producers.
AMS Established First-ever Fresh Fluid Milk Purchase for Food Banks
For the first time, USDA purchased Fresh Fluid Milk for distribution to food banks and food insecure households. This new purchase program addresses the surplus of fluid milk across the United States and provides healthy U.S.-produced food to families in need. Since the launch of the fluid milk procurement program, AMS has purchased $53 million of fluid milk, which equates to 18.5 million gallons and 4,900 truckloads. At the Second Harvest food bank of Florida, one mother echoed the sentiment of others in saying, “This means I no longer have to put water on my kids’ cereal in the morning.”
Trade: Food Purchase and Distribution Program
As part of the Department’s effort to assist farmers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade retaliation, AMS, in collaboration with the Food and Nutrition Service, administered a food purchase and distribution program to purchase $1.094 billion worth of tariff-impacted products including pork, dairy, pulse crops, and a variety of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. More than twenty-seven thousand truckloads carrying 1.009 billion pounds of agricultural products were distributed across all states, supporting 26 agricultural markets. The food was provided to food banks and pantries serving families across the nation.
Customer Service and Program Modernization
In order to enhance service for existing customers, AMS implemented several major initiatives in 2019 to increase efficiency, streamline processes, and improve the delivery of services by:
- Modernizing IT systems for billions of dollars in food purchases;
- Working to strengthen the integrity of the USDA Organic label;
- Increasing the use of technology in AMS grading programs; and
- Deploying new data systems for agricultural commodity price data and an open data visualization platform for transportation data.
These accomplishments represent a small snapshot of the work AMS has carried out over the past year. For more information on AMS services visit our website at www.ams.usda.gov.
For more articles concerning marketing, click here.