CORVALLIS, Ore. -- The U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture wants to know: do you know your farmer?
"Know Your Farmer" is not a program. There are no buildings, no staff and no budget.
Instead, it's a more efficient way of looking at current USDA programs to help out small and mid-size farmers.
"By buying regional, more of the food dollar stays in the localities," said Merrigan.
The initiative supports local farmers with grants and loans, as well as raising awareness for the plight of the local operations.
"If I or one of my farmers takes the time to sit down and write a grant to the USDA, there's a better chance now that someone reading that grant is going to be thinking about these issues in way that's beneficial to us," said Rebecca Landis with Corvallis-Albany Farmers' Markets.
But has the initiative been effective?
"I think it's a little too early to say that we've actually felt the impact of it yet," said Landis.
"Is it going as quickly as I'd like? I'm a bureaucrat, I'm pushing the wet noodle. It's never as fast as I'd like, but we are seeing improvements," said Merrigan.
And some farmers said the paperwork it takes to apply for those grants and loans is a burden, especially the small farms.
"I hear that concern loud and clear and we're trying to respond," said Merrigan.
You may not know your farmer yet, but that could change if buying local stays in style.