From the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) USDA News 6/4/10 - Noble on EPA Ag Advisory Committee On June 3, the Environmental Protection Agency announced the 29 new members of the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee for its 2010-2012 term. We are proud to say that Martha Noble, NSAC Senior Policy Associate, has been renamed to the panel for a second term. Noble is a lawyer and NSAC's policy specialist on agriculture and environment issues. 6/4/10 - Applications Invited for the Rural Microentreprenuer Assistance Program USDA's Rural Business - Cooperative Service has issued a Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) for the Rural Microentreprenuer Assistance Program (RMAP). Published on Thursday June 3, in conjunction with the National Rural Summit, the NOFA announces the availability of $45.1 million in support for Microenterprise Development Organizations to provide loans and technical assistance and training to rural microentreprenuers and microenterprises 6/4/10 - NSAC Delivers Research Comments; Opportunity to Comment Still Open On Wednesday, June 2, USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) held a stakeholder listening session on its largest competitive research grants program, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). NSAC's Policy Director Ferd Hoefner and member organizations, the Organic Farming Research Foundation and the Union of Concerned Scientists, delivered oral remarks. 6/4/10 - FSIS Announces Public Hearing on Controversial Guidance On June 4, USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced a series of public meetings in response to the release of their controversial guidance document back in March on HACCP Systems Validation for small and very small meat and poultry processing facilities. 6/3/10 - CSP Final Rule Released; Deadline Extended USDA published the final rule for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) in the June 3 Federal Register. 6/3/10 - 2009 Value-Added Awards Announced As part of today's activities associated with the National Rural Summit hosted by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack in Hillsboro, Missouri, USDA announced the long-awaited awards for the 2009 round of Value-Added Producer Grants. Congressional News 6/4/10 - Farm Bill Hearings to Commence In Senate This Tuesday, June 1, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman, Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) announced that the Committee will begin hearings on the 2012 Farm Bill at the end of this month. 6/2/10 - New Farm to School Act in House Last Friday, May 28, Representatives Betty McCollum (D-MN), Tom Latham (R-IA), and Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced the National Farm to School Act of 2010 (H.R. 5456) along with 22 original cosponsors. 5/28/10 - Congress Yet to Finish on Pigford, Farm Credit, Child Nutrition Funding Last week we reported on several major pending pieces of legislation. At that time, two bills - the so-called tax extenders bill and the emergency supplemental appropriations bill - seemed like they might be resolved by today, the beginning of the congressional recess week for Memorial Day. Alas, while progress was made on both this week, final resolution will now not occur until after the Memorial Day recess is over. Other News and Resources 6/4/10 - Farm Aid Economic Stimulus Report On June 2, the day before USDA's National Rural Summit, Farm Aid released a new report entitled "Rebuilding America's Economy with Family Farm-Centered Food Systems." NSAC's Ferd Hoefner, Shepherd's Grain's Karl Kupers, and Fred Kirschenmann with the Leopold Center joined Farm Aid in a press briefing on the role family farmers and local and regional food systems can play in economic recovery efforts.