Agriculture News From Congress, USDA – Week of 6/11-15/2011

From the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition CONGRESSIONAL Agriculture NEWS House Holds Farm Credit Hearing On Thursday, July 14, the House Subcommittee on Agriculture Department Operations, Oversight and Credit held an audit hearing to discuss farm loan programs, hearing witness testimony from FSA Administrator Bruce Nelson and Assistant Deputy Administrator Jim Radintz.  The hearing was relatively short, ending abruptly when members were notified of an imminent floor vote. Read more... A Hard Week in Congress for Clean Water On Tuesday, July 12, the House Appropriations Committee approved an appropriations bill for the Department of Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies that would slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s funding by 18-precent.  The full House is expected to vote on the bill the week of July 25th. Read more... USDA Agriculture NEWS Pigford II Settlement Update In November 2010, Congress authorized nearly $4.6 billion to fund the settlements in two class-action discrimination lawsuits on behalf of African-American farmers unfairly denied farm credit and Native American tribes whose trust accounts were mismanaged by the Department of Interior. Read more... USDA Announces New Farm To School Resources On Tuesday, July 12, USDA announced several new resources for locally-sourced school food initiatives. At the 2011 School Nutrition Association national convention in Nashville, Tennessee, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan addressed 4,500 school nutrition professionals about the Obama administration’s efforts to improve the health and nutrition of school and institutional meals, most notably the work of the USDA Farm to School Team, assembled in 2009 as part of the Know your Farmer, Know your Food Initiative. Read more… Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program Grants Support Sustainable Agriculture On Tuesday, July 12, USDA announced the twenty-five recipients of its Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP) grants.  FSMIP will match $1.3 million worth of state grants to assist in exploring new market opportunities for U.S. agricultural products. Read more...

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