US farm official in RI to tout ‘buy local’ success


Rhode Island’s farm economy may be tiny, but the state leads the U.S. in the percentage of farm products sold directly to consumers and the federal government hopes to learn from the example.

Edward Avalos, U.S. undersecretary of agriculture, is in the Ocean State this week to tour farms and meet with Gov. Lincoln Chafee to discuss the state’s “buy local” initiatives.

Avalos tells The Associated Press that Rhode Island farmers have shown remarkable success in marketing their products to consumers at farmers’ markets, roadside stands and restaurants. He says other states should look to Rhode Island as a model for how small-scale dairies, farms and nurseries can revitalize rural economies.

With only 1,200 farms, Rhode Island ranks 49th in the U.S. for agricultural exports.

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