NSAC Weekly Agriculture Policy News Roundup

This week the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) released a new Guide to USDA Funding for Local and Regional Food Systems which identifies and explains key programs that can help community based organizations and others that are working to build infrastructure, provide training to farmers, research new marketing opportunities, and otherwise working to strengthen regional food systems.  Please download a copy of the PDF and pass it on to other organizations that might find it useful! USDA News 4/30/10 - Small Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grants The USDA announced Wednesday that almost $3.5 million will be available for the Small Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grant program (SSDPG) which provides competitive grant funds for cooperatives or an association of cooperatives to provide technical assistance to socially disadvantaged, small-scale producers. 4/30/10 - NRCS Funding Available for Great Lakes Conservation The Environmental Protection Agency has provided USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) with $34 million to provide additional FY2010 funding to Farm Bill conservation programs in selected watersheds of the eight Great Lake states. 4/29/10 - USDA Rural Energy Grant and Loan Applications Open USDA's Rural Development Agency has announced that it is taking applications for Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants and guaranteed loans.  A total of $87 million is available in FY2010 for projects to develop and/or construct renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. 4/29/10 - NRCS Funding for Farm Energy Audits and Plans USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced an initiative to use $2 million in FY2010 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funding to help farmers and ranchers conserve energy and reduce energy costs. Congressional News 4/29/10 - Farm Bill 2012: Additional Field Hearings Scheduled Additional field hearings have now been added to the schedule in Georgia, Alabama, Texas, and South Dakota. Other News and Resources 4/28/10 - New NSAC Guide to USDA funding for Food Systems The Guide to USDA Funding for Local and Regional Food Systems seeks to de-mystify some of the federal grant programs most likely to be useful to food systems' development work and directs organizations to specific resources that can help in designing a project and writing a grant. 4/26/10 - Groups Urge Ag Funding Fairness More than 100 national, regional, state and local groups have signed on to a letter urging President Obama to pay for proposed increases in child nutrition and to settle long standing claims stemming from systemic discrimination in USDA programs without cutting critical conservation programs.

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