Ribbon Cutting and Open House held at Dallas USDA Urban Service Center
The USDA, FSA and NRCS recently held a Ribbon Cutting and Open House for the new USDA Urban Service Center in Dallas, Texas.
Story by: Adele Swearingen, Acting State Public Affairs Specialist, NRCS and Joshua Coleman, State Outreach Coordinator, FSA
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Farm Service Agency (FSA), and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently held a Ribbon Cutting and Open House for the new USDA Urban Service Center in Dallas. Officially open since April 2023, the event provided an opportunity for urban and innovative producers, agency leadership and staff, congressional staff, partners, and the general public to come together and celebrate.
Situated in the heart of the city, the Urban Service Center provides the growing population of urban agricultural producers a location that is accessible by public transportation and focused on the needs of urban, innovative, and small producers in the area.
Currently staffed by two FSA employees and three NRCS employees, the office offers farm loans, disaster assistance, risk management programs, and conservation technical and financial assistance.
USDA Farm Production and Conservation Deputy Under Secretary Gloria Montaño Greene welcomed everyone in attendance at the Ribbon Cutting and provided brief comments on the importance of urban agriculture in connecting urban communities with agriculture and providing the urban population with access to fresh, nutritious foods.
USDA NRCS Assistant Chief Kenneth Walker began by stating, “The importance of urban ag cannot be understated. It is not a new practice it’s just been newly recognized. People have grown gardens in their yards forever.” Recognizing these producers as farmers allows USDA to provide the same assistance to them as the agencies have historically done with rural agricultural producers and meeting them in areas where they are located is one of NRCS Chief Terry Cosby’s priorities.
Raymond Marr, Chief Program Specialist for FSA in Texas, described the efforts of FSA staff and the newly elected FSA Urban County Committee in better serving urban producers in Dallas County and soon to include portions of Tarrant County. Prior to this office opening, urban producers would have had to travel around 30 minutes to the closest FSA location in Forney, Texas.
FSA Urban County Committee Chairman Coy Poitier closed out the speakers, by conveying what an honor it is to serve on the committee and work with staff in the office to further urban agriculture efforts in Dallas.
As the ribbon was cut for the office, Montaño Greene stated, “Every thread that’s cut here represents the hundreds of producers and community members needing to get served and breaking down the barrier of access they haven’t had before.”
As the group moved inside, the open house began where agency leadership was able to engage with partners, community members and area urban and innovative producers and hear their stories of what makes the Dallas USDA Urban Service Center so valuable for the community.
More about USDA’s Urban Service Centers can be found at farmers.gov/urban. Urban producers can also find out more about how Urban Service Centers can help them grow in a recent Ask the Expert blog.