News: Federal Food and Farm Program Grants and More

beginning farmer and rancher stakeholder webinar

The latest news from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) including Deadlines for Federal Food and Farm Program Grants; USDA Awards for Farm Value-Added Business Development; Risk Management Through Diversity; Farmland Conservation; GMO Labeling; and More...

RFA Roundup: Deadlines for Federal Food and Farm Program Grants In order to help you cut through the chaos and keep track of the deadlines relevant for your food and farm businesses and organizations, NSAC has put together this summary of relevant USDA active RFAs. Grants are available for a broad range of projects and efforts, including: beginning and socially disadvantaged farmer engagement, risk management, renewable energy implementation and farm to school projects. Farmers and food producers are busy people, as are those who run the sustainable agriculture organizations that support them; we hope this list will be a useful reference guide for those looking for grant assistance.
USDA NEWS 
USDA Awards $46 Million for Farm Value-Added Business Development
On Thursday, October 27, USDA announced that 326 farm businesses from 47 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands will receive $45.6 million in grants from the fiscal year (FY) 2016 round of a program called the Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG) program. In order to help farmers, growers and budding entrepreneurs advance their businesses, the VAPG program aims to fund business and marketing plans, feasibility studies, and the acquisition of working capital to operate a value-added business venture.
More Farmers are Seeking Risk Management Options that Encourage Crop Diversity
In only its second year on the market, sales of Whole-Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) insurance have nearly doubled – from 1,110 policies in 2015 to 2,143 in 2016. This is great news for a relatively new risk-management product still technically in its pilot phase. NSAC was a major proponent of the program which was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. We believe WFRP has immense potential to bring risk-management solutions to currently underserved farmers and growers across the country.
With Food Labeling Claims, the Devil’s in the Details
Thanks to the recent campaign to secure mandatory labeling of GMO-foods (which resulted in the creation of a mandatory label, but one many pro-labeling advocates are far from satisfied with), debate over the label “non-GMO” has been a particularly hot-button discussion of late. The non-GMO label can be confusing enough to interpret on produce or processed goods, but what does it mean when its put on a meat package?
New ACEP Rule Guides Long-Term Conservation of Farmland, Grassland, and Wetlands
In order to combat development pressures and incentivize conservation over elimination of ecologically valuable lands, USDA offers the Agriculture Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), one of the four major farm bill conservation programs. ACEP helps private landowners, land trusts, and other entities preserve working farms and ranches and restore, protect, and enhance wetlands and grasslands through long-term easements. On October 18, USDA published its final rule for ACEP, dividing it into the two tracks established by the farm bill – a Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE) component and an Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) component.
 

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