News: Farm Bill For the Future and More

beginning farmer and rancher stakeholder webinar

In this latest edition of Sustainable Farming News, NSAC brings you information about A Farm Bill for the Future, Organic Research, Grants to Help Farmers Implement Food Safety Regulations, Specialty Crop Block Grant Awards, Energy Conservation Funding, and More...

If We Want a "Farm Bill for the Future," Support for Beginning Farmers is Key

 Choices, the magazine of food, farms and resource use, is the principal outreach vehicle of the Agricultural & Applied Economics AssociationChoices provides peer-reviewed articles exploring the economic implications of current food, farm, resource or rural community issues directed toward a broad audience.  The new issue of the magazine focuses on beginning farmer issues and includes an article by NSAC's own Juli Obudzinski previewing some high priority beginning farmer issues for the 2018 Farm Bill. Farm Bill for the Future: NSAC will be working with congressional champions to once again improve support for beginning farmers and ranchers during the farm bill process. We thank Choices for providing this forum to put some key issues on the table.
CONGRESSIONAL NEWS 
National Food Policy Scorecard Measures Congress' Performance on Major Food Issues
On October 16, Food Policy Action (FPA) released its 2016 National Food Policy Scorecard (“Scorecard”), a unique and interactive tool to help the public understand how Congress members have performed (or underperformed) on food-related policy issues. FPA uses their Scorecard to translate congressional stances and policy actions into a single, tangible number. Each Senator and Representative’s “score” is represented as a number between 0 and 100.
 
USDA NEWS 
New Grants Help Farmers Navigate Food Safety Regulations
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has just announced the grantee awards for its Food Safety Outreach Program (FSOP). FSOP is a food safety training grant program authorized under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and is designed to help the most vulnerable farms and food businesses adjust to the new Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new food safety requirements.
Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Awards $62.5 Million to 693 Food and Farm Projects
At the final U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Fall Forum of the current administration, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)Administrator Elanor Starmer announced that over $62.5 million in grants have been awarded through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP). SCBGP awards support farmers growing fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops, also known as “specialty crops,” by funding research, extension and a wide variety other projects that help them to address their unique challenges and enhance producers’ competitiveness.
Over $17 Million Available for Organic Research and Extension Initiative Grants
Today, USDA’s National Institution of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) added an RFA for its Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) program to the growing list of USDA open grant opportunities. OREI awards grants to research, education and extension projects that seek to advance the production and improve the quality of organic produce.
Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives Program Connects Low-Income Families with Healthy Options
On Thursday October 20, 2016 USDA announced a new round of available funding (up to $16.7 million) for the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives Program, a competitive grant program for projects that help low-income families participating in SNAP to purchase more fresh fruits and vegetables.
Funds Available for Rural Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Development
On Tuesday, October 18, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) posted its Notice of Solicitation for Applications (NOSA) for REAP for fiscal year (FY) 2017. The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), a farm bill energy title program, facilitates this move toward greater energy sustainability by providing grants and loans to farmers and businesses for energy efficiency improvements. REAP grants can also be used to assist with the purchase of wind, solar, geothermal or other renewable energy systems, and to help farmers with energy audits and renewable energy development.
   

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