Sustainable Agriculture News, First week of October, 2011

Below is the latest Sustainable Agriculture News from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition for the First Week of October, 2011. ACT NOW This is Our Chance-Last Chance: News Flash — After a few normal delays, the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act is ready to go!  We expect introduction next week.  So we are re-issuing this alert to let you know this is a last chance opportunity to help get your Senators and Member of Congress on board the bill as it gets introduced in the House and Senate the week of October 10.  If you haven't yet made a call in response to last week's alert, there is still timeRead more... USDA NEWS 2011 Specialty Crop Block Grants Announced: On Wednesday, October 5, USDA Deputy Secretary Merrigan announced the 2011 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program awards, the sixth year of awards for this program.  In total, 55 grants are being awarded for 740 initiatives totaling about $55 million.  On a press call announcing the awards, Merrigan noted that “this year, similar to last year, there is a huge interest in local." Request for Applications for the Rural Micro Lending Program: On Monday, September 26, the Federal Register published a Request for Applications (RFA) for the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP).  Applications for this program will be accepted on a rolling basis, with funding awarded once each Federal fiscal quarter.  Read more... Notice of Meeting of the National Organic Standards Board: The October 7 edition of the Federal Register contained a notice announcing a forthcoming meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).  The meeting will take place in Savannah, Georgia from Tuesday, November 29 through Friday, December 2, 2011.  Read more... FDA NEWS NSAC Submits Comments to FDA on Co-Management: The Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) was enacted into law at the beginning of this year, and the rulemaking process for the legislation is currently underway.  The FSMA includes several provisions that are related to wildlife and the environment.  NSAC’s  Food Saftey Taskforce submitted a memo to the FDA on October 5 that provides suggestions on how to best address these provisions in regards to the potential conflicts between conservation concerns and the produce safety rule.  Read more... OTHER NEWS Court Rules Pilgrim’s Pride Violated Packers & Stockyards Act: Last week, a U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a decision in Adams v. Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation, in which the court ruled that Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation (PPC) violated Section 192(e) of the Packers and Stockyards (PSA) when it closed and refused to sell a poultry processing plant in El Dorado, Arkansas to another processing company. Read more... White House Rural Council Releases its “Feedback from Rural America” Report: On June 9, 2011, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the White House Rural Council.  Since the establishment of the Council, the President, the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and various senior Administration officials have established an open dialogue with rural America through making nearly 200 visits to rural communities throughout the country.   These visits, along with the Rural Economic Forum held in Peosta, Iowa, have provided the Council with feedback on how to best address the concerns and aspirations of rural Americans. The White House Rural Council Feedback Report, released on September 30, summarizes the findings of these visits.  Read more... Conservation Ranks High in Public Survey of Farm Bill Priorities: In a recently released survey of public opinion on agriculture and the environment, the majority of people surveyed approved of priorities that are in line with the NSAC agenda for the next Farm Bill and for federal funding for agriculture.  The goal of the survey was to assess how Americans view US agriculture policy, with an emphasis on assessing opinion on the role of conservation in the Farm Bill.  Read more...

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