Sustainable Agriculture News Update, August 2011

USDA NEWS from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition – August 29, 2011 New ERS Conservation Articles and Report On Monday, August 22, USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) issued a new edition of its Amber Waves magazine, featuring two important agricultural conservation stories. “Reducing Agriculture’s Nitrogen Footprint: Are New Policy Approaches Needed?” is a helpful quick review by Marc Ribaudo of earlier ERS publications on nutrient management and the array of possible policies to accelerate adoption, including financial assistance, compliance, and regulation. Read more... Farmer Backlog for Federal Credit Addressed but Serious Gap Remains On July 28, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) transferred unneeded Guaranteed Farm Operating Loan (GOL) funds to two credit programs with higher demand – Direct Farm Operating Loans (DOL) and Guaranteed Farm Ownership (GFO) loans.  FSA has general authority to transfer a portion of appropriated funds from one loan program to another to bring spending more in line with farmer demand for credit. Read more... USDA Proposes New Animal ID and Tracing Regulation On Thursday, August 11, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a proposed rule with national official identification and documentation requirements for the traceability of livestock moving interstate.  Read more... 2011 Conservation Innovation Grant Awards Announced On Monday, August 22, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the 2011 recipients of the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG).  Approximately $22.5 million will be awarded to 52 non-profit, private and public organizations addressing natural resource concerns in 40 states across the country. Read more... New USDA Report Highlights Successes of the Wetlands Reserve Program On Monday, August 22, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) released a new publication highlighting the success of the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) over its 20-year history.  Read more...

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