The latest news from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition featuring” Making the Match Between Beginning Farmers and Landowners; Confirmation Hearing for USDA Secretary, FSMA Water Standards, and more policy news.
Making the Match Between Beginning Farmers and Landowners – USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program Transition Incentives Program was created in 2008 as a way to connect retiring farmers who own CRP land to beginning farmers and ranchers looking to farm sustainably. Through CRP-TIP, retiring farmers continue to receive rental payments for their land in CRP if they are selling/renting their land to traditionally underserved farmer groups (i.e., beginning farmers). In order to evaluate CRP-TIP usage and provide strategies to increase awareness about the program, USDA’s Farm Service Agency recently published a new report, Pathways to Land Access.
Senate Agriculture Committee Holds Confirmation Hearing for USDA Secretary – On Thursday, March 23, the Senate Agriculture Committee held its confirmation hearing for Trump’s pick for U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary, Sonny Perdue, the last of Trump’s cabinet nominees to be vetted by the Senate. Perdue’s hearing was congenial overall, with Senators on both sides of the aisle enjoying positive exchanges with the nominee. The Committee will soon schedule a vote on Perdue’s nomination – it is assumed he will receive enough votes, and then will go on to face the full Senate for consideration.
Food and Drug Administration to Simplify FSMA Water Standards On March 20, 2017, FDA released the following statement regarding its plans to revisit the water standard and find ways to simplify the requirements. NSAC applauds the FDA’s willingness to review all aspects of the water standard, including: the water quality standard itself, mandated testing frequency, and the approved testing methodology. While FDA’s statement does not provide details on how the review process will be undertaken, it is a promising first step toward a workable standard that can meet public health goals without unduly burdening our nation’s farmers.
Path to the 2018 Farm Bill: Commodities and Crop InsuranceAs a lead up to the 2018 Farm Bill, around which discussions and debate in Congress have already begun, NSAC is previewing some of the major programs and policies advocates need to know in order to effectively engage. This is our third post in the series, “Path to the 2018 Farm Bill.” This post covers the Farm Bill’s commodities title and focuses on support programs for staple, non-perishable, and generally storable commodities (e.g., corn, soybeans).
Appropriations on the Agenda: Farmer-Advocates Fly In to Washington DC Last week, NSAC hosted its first “farmer fly-in” for the fiscal year 2018 season. Growers from Oregon, Mississippi, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Alabama, and Georgia took time out of their busy schedules to bring important food and farm issues to legislators’ attention as the FY 2018 appropriations cycle heats up. Priorities of the farmer fly-in included: working lands conservation, rural economic development programs, sustainable agriculture research, technical assistance for military veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, and food safety training for small and mid-sized producers.