Here’s the latest news from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition featuring: Farmer Fair Practices Rules; Renew Expiring Conservation Stewardship Contracts; Funding Available to Enhance Sustainable Water Usage; Farm Credit System Evaluation; and Path to the 2018 Farm Bill…
If Trump Stands with Rural America, He Will Expedite the Farmer Fair Practices Rules – Over the last several years, USDA has tried to implement rules to protect livestock farmers against abusive and deceptive contracting practices by meatpackers; however, it has been thwarted by congressional appropriators’ use of backdoor “policy riders.” 2016 was the first year that no policy rider was attached to stop these rules, formally known as the Farmer Fair Practices Rules. NSAC urges the Trump Administration and USDA to stand with family farmers by allowing the competitive injury interim final rule to go into effect.
One Month Left to Renew Expiring Conservation Stewardship Contracts! – Farmers and ranchers with expiring Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) acres have until May 5 to renew their contracts for an additional five years. CSP’s conservation practices have proven to help farmers increase crop yield and farm resilience while also enhancing on farm soil health, water quality, and wildlife habitat. Reaping the full benefits of some conservation activities can take time, however. By extending CSP contracts for an additional five years, producers will have the opportunity to continue to build upon and improve their stewardship activities.
$34 Million Available for Projects that Enhance Sustainable Usage of Water Farms – Last week, AFRI announced $34 million in available funding through their Water for Food Production Systems (WFPS) Challenge Area. WFPS is specifically targeted at college and university-led projects that develop systems-based strategies and technologies to manage water usage and increase agricultural production without compromising water availability and quality. AFRI expects to be able to fund seven projects in FY 2017. Applicants must turn in a Letter of Intent by May 17, 2017 and full applications by August 2, 2017. To see the full RFA, click here.
FARM BILL NEWS
Congress Evaluates Health of Farm Credit System – This week, the House Agriculture Committee held its 14th hearing in a marathon of hearings this month leading up to the Committee’s initial work on the 2018 Farm Bill. The scope of the hearing was to review the health of the Farm Credit System, especially in light of the recent economic downturn in the farm economy. Testifying at this week’s hearing were representatives from several Farm Credit institutions, along with the Farm Credit Administration – the regulatory body overseeing the national network of regional Farm Credit Institutions.
Path to the 2018 Farm Bill: Programs with Expiring Funding As a lead up to the 2018 Farm Bill, NSAC is previewing some of the major programs and policies that advocates need to know in order to effectively engage. The fourth post in our series, “Path to the 2018 Farm Bill,” focuses on programs that support value-added and organic agriculture, local and regional food systems, and beginning and underserved farmers and ranchers. Specifically, many of these important programs could be left stranded without a reauthorization of funds in the 2018 Farm Bill.