Sustainable Agriculture News Mid-March 2015

The Farm Bill Reloaded The House Budget Committee is expected to markup the fiscal year 2016 budget resolution on Wednesday March 18. The Senate Budget Committee is expected to follow suit the next day. Assuming the measures pass out of the committee they will be debated and voted on in the full House and Senate the following week.

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Budget Time on Capitol Hill - Farm Bill to be Re-Opened? On March 9, the Congressional Budget Office issued its budget “baseline” that will be used in decision-making on legislative proposals for the balance of this year. Unsurprisingly, CBO projects higher costs for farm bill programs than it projected in 2014, shortly after Congress passed the Farm Bill. At the same time, the budget resolution, to be taken up in the House and Senate Budget Committees next week, could potentially re-open the farm bill. This possibility increases the relevance of the new higher farm bill costs projected by CBO.

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Letters Supports CRP Conservation Buffers and Grasslands Farmers interested in installing conservation buffers have the option of enrolling these small acreages in the farm bill's Conservation Reserve Program through what is known as the Continuous CRP. It is called continuous because the CCRP is open to any qualifying land at any time of the year, year in and year out. In a letter to USDA's Farm Service Agency on March 10, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition joined forces with National Grain and Feed Association and 13 other farm, processor, water quality, and conservation organizations urging an even more robust CCRP in the future.

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Organic Farming Research Funding Available USDA has released the Requests for Applications for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative and the Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program - Organic Transitions. Approximately $20 million will be available in FY 2015 for OREI. Interested applicants must notify NIFA by April 1, 2015with full applications due by April 30, 2015. For ORG, $4 million is available in FY 2015. Interested applicants must to notify NIFA byMarch 26, 2015 with full applications due April 16, 2015.

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