Sustainable Agriculture Briefs

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FUNDING NEWS USDA Now Accepting Applications for Value Added Producer Grants Today, May 8th, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the availability of $30 million in funding through the competitive Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) Program. The deadline for applicatons is July 7, 2015. In conjunction with the announcement, and in order to assist producers with the application process, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has relased its lastest guide on VAPG: the updated Farmers' Guide to Value-Added Producer Grant Funding... Release: Farmers' Guide to Value-Added Producer Grant Funding, $30 Million Available This Cycle In conjunction with today’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture inviting applications for funding through the Farm Bill’s Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) Program, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is releasing a new, updated version of its Farmers’ Guide to Value-Added Producer Grant Funding. In addition to the $30 million notice of funding availability for 2015, USDA also today released the final rule for the VAPG program incorporating changes from the 2014 Farm Bill. New Funding Available for Conservation Partnership Projects On Monday, May 4, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the availability of up to $235 million to fund conservation projects through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program in fiscal year 2016. As its name implies, RCPP supports partnerships between farm and conservation organizations working with state and federal agencies to deliver federal farm bill conservation assistance to farmers to help tackle specific natural resource and environmental concerns in a specific state or region. New Grant Funding to Help Farmers Markets Accept SNAP Benefits On Tuesday, May 5th, the Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, announced the availability of $3.3 million in funding for Farmers Market SNAP Support Grants. The program aims to support the ability of farmers markets to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits as a form of payment. CONGRESSIONAL NEWS Briefing Spotlights Local Food, Farmer Livelihoods, Community Development, and Healthy Food Access On Tuesday, May 5th, a Congressional briefing organized by the Food and Agriculture Policy Collaborative highlighted federal programs to support local and regional food and farming, economic development, improved health outcomes, and access to good food. The briefing was part of a successful and growing partnership of FAPC members, linking federal policy with place-based outcomes and efforts. 130 Organizations Deliver Letter Opposing Cuts to Conservation On Tuesday, May 5, more than 130 organizations from around the country urged the House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittees to oppose cuts to farm bill conservation funding in fiscal year 2016 appropriations legislation. The letter was sent by a broad range of groups, including the American Seed Trade Association, National Farmers Union, American Society of Agronomy, Chesapeake Bay Foundation and many others in addition to NSAC.

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