New Sustainable Agriculture News

New Sustainable Agriculture News from NSAC: Senate Kicks Off Farm Bill Hearings: On Wednesday, February 15, the Senate Agriculture Committee held its first in a series of four hearings for the upcoming 2012 Farm Bill.  Hearings are an important part in the farm bill process because they bring attention to critical issues and policy changes that are needed, informing the debates and deliberations around the bill. Read more... Addressing Equity and Fairness in the 2012 Farm Bill: On February 1st and 2nd, NSAC was one of 30 farm, food security, and environmental groups that participated in a two day summit held in Washington, D.C. to exchange policy ideas about the farm bill.  The primary goal of the summit was to identify specific areas of collaboration to move forward collectively in the 2012 Farm Bill agenda. Read more... Obama’s FY 2013 USDA Budget Request: On Monday, February 13, President Obama submitted his budget request to Congress for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013.  For sustainable agriculture interests, the budget proposal is a mixed bag, with big cuts to working lands conservation programs, and both cuts and increases to discretionary spending accounts for sustainable agriculture programs. Read more... NSAC Comments on Obama Ag and Farm Budget Proposals Washington, D.C. February 13, 2012 —  President Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget request sent to Congress today includes a smattering of 2012 Farm Bill proposals, including most prominently the same $32 billion in 10-year farm bill cuts he issued last September and a proposed one-year cut to farm bill conservation programs of $432 million. Read more... President’s Proposed EPA Budget and Agriculture President Obama’s FY2013 EPA budget proposal targets nutrient pollution, sedimentation and loss of shoreline vegetation as major water quality concerns, with a focus on agriculture as a major contributor to water degradation. Read more... USDA News: European Union and U.S. Agree to New Organic Trade Partnership: Today, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced that open trade of organic products between the United States and the European Union will begin June 1, 2012.  The U.S. and the E.U. are the world’s two largest organic markets, with a combined market value of $50 billion. Read more... USDA Announces Website to Support Beginning Farmers and Ranchers: Yesterday, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the launch of an online tool to support beginning farmers and ranchers.  Start2Farm.gov, a collaboration between USDA’s National Library and the American Farm Bureau Federation, provides information on funding, training, networking, and legal and technical assistance.  The site also chronicles beginning farmer and rancher success stories. Read more... 2012 Community Foods Projects Awardees Named: On Wednesday, February 15, USDA announced the 2012 recipients of the Community Foods Projects grants.  Community Foods Projects, a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) program, seeks to fight hunger and food security through community-driven food systems, specifically in low-income communities.  This year’s 27 grants totaled $4.8 million.  Projects funded include a teen-run community kitchen incubator, faith-based community food assessments, and a program to help indigenous people return to healthful eating. Read more... GUEST BLOG: New Ally for Sustainable Agriculture in the Finance Department: Non-profit, community lenders get involved in healthy food supply chain by guest bloggers Nessa Richman, Brightseed Strategies and Patty Cantrell, Regional Food Solutions, Loan funds, credit unions, community development corporations—these mission-driven organizations traditionally provide credit and financial services to poor and underserved urban and rural areas.  Yet food and farming rarely registered on their radar screens; until recently, only a few made food and farming a part of their mission. Read more...

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