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Heinrich Welcomes USDA Under Secretary Jenny Lester Moffitt to New Mexico, Highlights Federal Program to Maintain and Improve Food & Agricultural Supply Chain in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE — U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, welcomed USDA Under Secretary Jenny Lester Moffitt to the South Valley Economic Development Center to highlight the Nourish New Mexico program

“As the Chair of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee in the Senate, I am focused on delivering federal resources that will help us build more resilient and sustainable local food systems. This new program is vital to getting that job done,” said Heinrich. “I was pleased to welcome USDA Under Secretary Jenny Lester Moffitt to the South Valley Economic Development Center today and highlight how we are creating stronger, locally-sourced food systems that allow New Mexicans to put healthy food on the table. ” 

“The Local Food Purchase Assistance program is allowing states to do procurement in a different way. Funding from the program is paving the way for the state’s Nourish New Mexico project to purchase local foods – like delicious green chile – directly from the Land of Enchantment's producers, promoting economic opportunities and increasing access to locally produced, fresh, healthy, and nutritious food in underserved communities. This partnership between USDA and the state of New Mexico gives farmers the peace of mind knowing these purchases are coming, allowing them to scale up their operations, achieve food safety certification, and be ready for more, new, and better markets moving forward,” said USDA Under Secretary Jenny Lester Moffitt.

In March 2021, Senator Heinrich voted to pass the historic American Rescue Plan, legislation that continues to deliver for New Mexico families, workers and small businesses, and local, state, and Tribal governments. The legislation included funding to authorize the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA), which allows states and Tribes to enter into cooperative agreements with regional food hubs—like food banks—to purchase food from local small to mid-sized underserved producers and increase access to locally-sourced and healthy foods in underserved communities.

New Mexico signed its cooperative agreement with USDA Agricultural Marketing Service

“New Mexico food banks are excited to work with such an effective program,” said Sherry Hooper, board member for the New Mexico Association of Food Banks. “The program gives us an opportunity to access fresh nutritious food for distribution to our neighbors in need. And, the critically-needed USDA funds supporting this program allow the food banks to purchase this locally-produced food at fair market prices. It’s a win-win. Food banks receive healthy food for distribution to food insecure New Mexicans while strengthening New Mexico’s food systems.” 

Today’s visit by USDA Under Secretary Lester Moffitt follows unanimous approval by the Senate Appropriations Committee of more than $10 million for local projects across New Mexico