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USDA And Community-And Faith-Based Partners Meet August 6


WASHINGTON, July 2008-Department of Agriculture officials today announced the Fifth Annual Partners Meeting, bringing together more than 500 leaders from community- and faith-based organizations with USDA officials August 6-8, 2008, at the Doubletree Hotel Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia.

The meeting’s theme, “Building Bridges, Building Hope: Working Together to Strengthen Farming and Rural Communities,” supports USDA’s commitment to programs that help build the capacity of its stakeholders. The meeting will facilitate agricultural enterprises’ increased productivity and profitability by sharing new opportunities occurring in the changing marketplace.

The Partners Meeting is designed to broaden understanding of the depth and scope of USDA programs and services relative to the 2008 Farm Bill, and to strengthen the process and structure for the on-going USDA/CBO relationship.

The Partners Meeting is an annual event coordinated through the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights. It presents an opportunity for representatives of community- and faith-based organizations, other minority-serving entities, and USDA agencies to exchange ideas and explore solutions to challenges faced by traditionally underserved farmers, ranchers and rural communities. The Partners Meeting also serves as a “call to action” to propose development of policy to address underserved customers.

Partners V will include one pre-conference technical assistance workshop on marketing, five plenary sessions-two of which are focused on the 2008 Farm Bill, training sessions on marketing, grant writing, and microenterprises; 10 farm bill-based conversations led by representatives of community-based organizations (CBOs) and USDA staff; and outreach success stories. In addition, the second annual (2008) USDA/CBO Partners Awards for excellence in outreach will be presented at the Awards, Recognitions, and Networking Luncheon.

The 2008 conversations and training sessions will focus on conservation and forestry, specialty crop/food purchase programs, credit, energy/renewable energy, disaster protection, grant writing; small, beginning, and socially disadvantaged producers; farm-worker coordinator position, certification and marketing, and many other issues related to the 2008 Farm Bill.

To obtain more information about the Fifth Annual Partners Meeting, contact Gladys Vaughn, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20250, Mail Stop 9473, Telephone:(202) 720-6350, Toll Free Number: (800) 880-4143.


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