Sustainable Agriculture News for Sept. 12-16, 2011

Sustainable Agriculture News from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition for Sept. 12-16, 2011 CONGRESSIONAL NEWS Appropriations and Deficit Reduction Move Forward Together With the end of the fiscal year approaching quickly, Republicans in the House of Representatives intend to vote next week on a two-month “continuing resolution” (CR) to keep the government funded through November 18. Congress has yet to pass any of the twelve appropriations bills for fiscal year (FY) 2012, which begins on October 1. Read more... USDA and FDA Data on Antibiotic Resistance Is Deficient: Industrialized livestock and poultry operations are the major users of antibiotics and related drugs in the U.S.   A Food & Drug Administration (FDA) assessment estimated that in 2009, 29 million pounds of antibiotics were given to food-producing animals. These drugs are routinely used at low doses in overcrowded Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) to promote growth and prevent diseases that can arise because of crowded and stressful conditions. This use of these drugs, at low doses for non-therapeutic uses, leads to the selection of disease-causing pathogens that are resistant to antibiotics. Read more... USDA NEWS New Project Priority for Biomass Crop Assistance Program: On September 15, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) issued an Interim Rule, effective immediately, that gives Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) “Projects” a funding priority over funding for “Collection, Harvest, Storage & Transportation” (CHST) activities.The BCAP project component provides for establishment and annual payments to agricultural and forest landowners who are participating in BCAP projects to establish new crops or trees for bioenergy and bio-based products. Read more... Rural Business Enterprise Grant Awards Announced: On Wednesday, September 14, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced grant awards to development organizations and producers in 40 states and Puerto Rico to promote rural job growth and business development.  All together, 69 Rural Business Enterprise Grants (RBEGs) and Intermediary Relending Program loans, totaling a combined $14.7 million, will be granted through USDA to stimulate rural economic development efforts. Read more... Final RCA Appraisal and New Data Viewer Released: On Thursday, September 15, USDA announced the creation of an interactive website that allows the public to view and download a variety of data from the Resource Conservation Act (RCA) Appraisal of 2011.  The Appraisal, part of USDA’s implementation of the Soil and Water Resources Conservation Act of 1977, assesses the status of soil, water, and related natural resources on non-Federal land and analyzes the effectiveness of current conservation policies and programs.  The full Appraisal can be downloaded from the NRCS website. Read more... TREASURY NEWS 2011 Healthy Food Financing Initiative Awards Announced: On Wednesday, September 14, the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) announced the award of $25 million in grants through the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) to a variety of organizations serving “food deserts” throughout the United States.  A total of 12 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) in nine states will receive funding. Read more... SPECIAL NEWS Farmers’ Guide to the Conservation Stewardship Program: On September 7, 2011, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) released an updated version of our popular Farmers’ Guide to the Conservation Stewardship Program.  The Guide is intended to help family farmers, ranchers, and foresters understand the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) enrollment process.  In addition, it provides clear information on conservation activities eligible for CSP payments to improve conservation performance and environmental benefits. Read more... Watch and Pass It On: Who Will Grow Food for Future Generations?: To create a revitalized, healthier, and safer U.S. food and farm system we need to cultivate a new generation of farmers and ranchers – and quickly.  The current farm population is aging rapidly, and while there are many people that want to farm and ranch they face tremendous obstacles entering this field. Read more... Congressional Supercommittee Will Shape Future of Food, Farming, and Conservation: NSAC policy associate Greg Fogel writes for Rodale Voices about the threats to organic and sustainable agriculture and the food systems movement. To find out you can stand up for the health, prosperity, and security of our food and farming system sign up for our action alert list today! Read more...

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