National Young Farmers' Coalition News January 2013 I've posted on all of these things at some point, but the National Young Farmers' Coalition perspective on the farm bill, new food safety rules, and the FSA micro-loan program is really worth checking out. This is a great organization dedicated to helping young and beginning farmers... FARM BILL 2012 FIGHT COMES TO AN END A lot has been happening in the past month around farm policy and programs. Those who have been following the Farm Bill fiasco know that a nine-month Farm Bill extension was tacked on to the fiscal cliff bill that was pushed through Congress in the final hours before the new year. The extension ignores many of the programs NYFC has been fighting for, but there is hope that in 2013 we'll be able to pull them back to the forefront of the campaign for a real five-year bill. Read NYFC's summary of the extension here. USDA FOOD SAFETY RULES AWAITING YOUR COMMENTS The FDA just released its proposed food safety rules – the first overhaul of these regulations in eighty years! These new rules cover everything from harvesting practices to equipment cleaning to training requirements. Most likely, they will have an impact on your farm! There is an open-comment period extending until May 16th, after which the FDA will issue the final draft of the rules. NYFC will be issuing an organizational comment after careful analysis of how the rules will affect beginning farmers, but we need your input. Check out NYFC's quick summary of the rules and then participate in the discussion at the Young Farmers FSMA Forum. FSA RELEASES MICRO-LOAN PROGRAM The Farm Service Agency has published its new Micro-loan Operating Loan program for small farmers. The program, effective as of January 17th, offers operating loans of up to $35,000 for small and family operations, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers. This program is something that NYFC has been advocating for since 2011, and we are thrilled that the FSA has listened to the needs of beginning farmers. Read more about the new program here.