Four RBOG Grants Support Local and Regional Food: On Thursday, September 23, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the recipients of USDA’s 2010 Rural Business Opportunity Grants (RBOG), which support regional planning activities to improve economic conditions in rural areas. Out of 27 total funded projects, the program awarded grants to four projects pertaining to local and regional food system development.
USDA Announces 2010 Recipients of Specialty Crop Block Grants: On Friday, September 17th, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan announced the awards made under this year’s Specialty Crop Block Grant program. The grants to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops are made in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops. Program objectives included marketing and promotion, education, research, food production, food safety, and pest and plant health. The grants, which are administered by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), total approximately $55 million and this year will fund 827 projects. Of the total $55 million in funding for 2010, some 17 percent was retained by State Departments of Agriculture for their own projects and activities, while 82 percent were competitively awarded and 1 percent non-competitively awarded.
Vilsack Announces $499 Million in Nationwide Community Facilities Grants: On Wednesday, September 29, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the award of $499 million in grants to a variety of investments in rural community development across the nation. A total of 280 projects in 44 states, as well as Guam and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, will receive funding. These grants are awarded annually by USDA’s Community Facilities Program, which finances crucial community facilities in rural areas in an effort to “improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers, and ranchers, and improve the quality of life in rural America.”
Photos: Michelle Obama and UN Spouses Visit Stone Barns Center: First Lady Michelle Obama treated the spouses of world leaders participating in the UN General Assembly to a local, organic luncheon at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, an NSAC member organization. The 31 “first spouses,” representing a diversity of countries including Cameroon, Estonia, Gabon, Norway, Panama and Sierra Leone, enjoyed tours of the farm followed by a luncheon at “Blue Hills at Stone Barns,” an award-winning restaurant that sources its food from the Center’s farm.
USGS Releases National Analysis of Nutrients in Streams and Groundwater: On Thursday, September 23, the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA) released a comprehensive national analysis of the occurrence and distribution of nutrients in streams and groundwater based on water-quality data collected from 1992 through 2004. The report indicates that despite major federal, state, and local efforts to control point and non-point sources and transport of nutrients, concentrations of nutrients have remained the same or increased in many streams and aquifers across the nation since the early 1990s, and may pose a threat to human and animal health, particularly in agricultural areas.
NSAC seeks a Policy Associate to advocate before Congress and federal agencies. Vist the job description on our website.
NSAC is seeking a Grassroots Organizer to work on our 2012 Farm Bill campaign. Visit the job announcement on our website.