Apr 17, 2024
CEA Alliance advocates for bill affecting USDA Loan Program

The CEA Alliance is optimistic about the introduction of the Food Supply Chain Capacity and Resiliency Act of 2024 by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Mike Braun (R-IN), which would provide critical alternative funding for the controlled environment agriculture (CEA) industry and other similar capital-intensive food supply chain-related industries by enhancing and making permanent USDA’s previous Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program.

“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.”

“At a time when the U.S. is importing more fresh food than ever before, Congress must advance critical legislation like the Food Supply Chain Capacity and Resiliency Act to support innovative supply chain solutions such as indoor farming,” said Colin O’Neil, chair of the CEA Alliance’s Public Policy Working Group and senior director of Public Policy & Social Impact for Bowery. “Being able to grow fresh produce indoors all year round is a win for consumers, a win for the environment, and a win for the fresh food supply chain – greater support through programs like these will help the American indoor farming industry grow and thrive.

“We all know that Indiana is an agricultural powerhouse and indoor farming represents an important and growing part of our state’s fresh food supply chain. Pure Green Farms applauds Senators Mike Braun and Sherrod Brown for introducing the Food Supply Chain Capacity and Resiliency Act of 2024, which will provide important financing tools for indoor farming companies in Indiana and around the country,” said Joe McGuire, CEO of Pure Green Farms based in South Bend, Indiana. 

“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,” said 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.”

The House-companion legislation, H.R. 4873, was introduced last year by Representatives Ro Khanna (D-CA), Max Miller (R-OH), Shontel Brown (D-OH), and Marcus Molinaro (R-NY). Their bill has since garnered additional bipartisan support from Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Jasmine Crockett (D-TX), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), and Julia Brownley (D-CA).  

The CEA Alliance recently sent a letter to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees urging them to include the Food Supply Chain Capacity and Resiliency Act and the Supporting Urban and Innovative Farming Act in the farm bill.