Here is the Sustainable Agriculture Weekly News Roundup from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition for September 26-30, 2011 To access the full articles simply click on the title and you'll be taken to the specific post page. ACT NOW This is Our Chance: Only once every 5 years do you have the opportunity to truly change our food and farm system through the farm bill! The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2011 will be introduced in Congress next week – this is our chance to ensure food security for future generations and new farming enterprises that can bring jobs and economic renewal to revitalize our nation’s communities. There are just a few days left to best take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity! Read more... CONGRESSIONAL NEWS 56 Groups Release Conservation Principles to Guide Farm Bill Debate: On Wednesday, September 28, a national coalition of 56 policy and advocacy organizations, including NSAC, released a set of key principles to help guide lawmakers as they write the Conservation Title of the 2012 farm bill and seek ways to trim the federal deficit. USDA NEWS USDA Announces 2011 Beginning Farmer Awards and 2012 Request for Applications: USDA has announced $18 million in grants to beginning farmers and ranchers at a press conference held in Washington, D.C. USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan highlighted these recent awards that were funded through the 2011 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), a competitive grants program administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). USDA Releases FY2012 Request for Applications for AFRI Program: This week the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) released four Requests for Applications (RFAs) for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) research program for Fiscal Year 2012. AFRI is USDA’s largest competitive grants program, funding extramural research conducted at federal research agencies, land-grant institutions and other colleges and universities, state agricultural experiment stations, non-profit organizations, and private institutions. New ERS Report on Nitrogen Loss and Conservation Policy Last week, USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) released a new report entitled, Nitrogen in Agricultural Systems: Implications for Conservation Policy. The 89-page report “explores the use of nitrogen in U.S. agriculture and assesses changes in nutrient management by farmers that may improve nitrogen use efficiency.” It “reviews a number of policy approaches for improving nitrogen management and identifies issues affecting their potential performance.” OTHER NEWS October is National Farm to School Month! October is National Farm to School Month, a time to celebrate the connections that are happening around the country between schools and local food! NSAC is among the partners for the inaugural event. Farm Bill – Regional Food System Webinar. Sign up to participate in a webinar on Monday afternoon, October 10, entitled, “What You Need to Know about the Farm Bill—Important Updates and Information Related to Community and Regional Food Systems.” Join us on Monday, October 10, 4:00 Eastern, 3:00 Central, 2:00 Mountain, and 1:00 Pacific time zones. Space is limited, so please email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or for information about how to register for the webinar. You watched it, passed it on, now you can take action! Thanks to all of you that watched the beginning farmer and rancher video below and shared it through your social networks! The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2011 will be introduced in Congress next week! Act now!