Final Budget Deal Raises Spending Caps and Reforms Crop Insurance: Will Reforms Stand? Shortly after 3am on Friday, October 30, the Senate passed a final budget deal for fiscal years 2016 and 2017, which the House passed on Wednesday. The President is expected to sign the bill shortly.
USDA Releases New Commitments, New Website for New Farmers On October 29, U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden announced the launch of new commitments and a new website for new and aspiring farmers. The new USDA goals focus on boosting funding for and participation in USDA programs and services that support new and beginning farmers.
Funding Available to Support New Farmer Training Programs Today, the United States Department of Agriculture announced the availability of $18 million to fund new farmer training and education programs across the country. These federal grants are made available to non-profit and community-based organizations, as well as academic institutions and government entities, through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.
USDA Awards $7 Million for Risk Management Education Last week, USDA’s Risk Management Agency announced awards totaling over $7 million for risk management education and training programs through the Risk Management Education Partnerships Program and the Targeted States Crop Insurance Education Program.
USDA Awards $173 Million for 1,100 Renewable Energy Projects On October 26, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced 1,100 renewable energy and energy efficiency awards totaling nearly $173 million through the Rural Energy for America Program. REAP provides grants and loans to farmers and businesses for energy efficiency improvements, purchase and development of renewable energy systems, and energy audits.
Group Food Safety Certification Coming in 2016 Since 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service has been partnering with the Wallace Center at Winrock International to pilot a group food safety certification option called GroupGAP. AMS recently previewed the planned expansion of the GroupGAP pilot to a full program, which will become available nationwide in the spring of 2016.
WHITE HOUSE NEWS
White House Honors Champions of Change for Sustainable Agriculture On October 26, the White House honored 12 farmers and educators as White House Champions of Change for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture. We especially recognize two Champions of Change with NSAC member group ties for this achievement: