USDA Tag

USDA is gathering input to help shape a planned grant program focused on improving the resiliency of our food and agricultural supply chain by addressing labor shortages in agriculture, reducing irregular migration, and improving labor protections for farmworkers. USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) will hold three virtual listening sessions for the new farm labor stabilization and protection pilot grant program. The first, in the morning of September 28, 2022, is for agricultural employer organizations, and the second, that afternoon, is for labor unions. The third listening session, for the broader farmworker advocacy community, will be on the afternoon of September...

USDA has selected 70 projects to receive up to $2.8 billion in funding under the first pool of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding opportunity. According to USDA, these initial projects will expand markets for climate-smart commodities, leverage the greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart commodity production and provide direct, meaningful benefits to production agriculture, including for small and underserved producers. Funding for Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities will be delivered through USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation in two pools. Projects announced today are from the first funding pool, which included proposals seeking funds ranging from $5 million to $100 million. A complete...

As part of a funding package for food banks and school meal programs, USDA announced that it will provide nearly $500 million to expand the Local Food Purchase Assistance (LFPA) cooperative agreement program. LFPA supports states, territories, and tribes to purchase food from historically underserved producers, as well as local and regional producers, to support emergency food assistance efforts. An allocation of $471.5 million will be used for cooperative agreements with states, tribes, and territories to purchase locally available food grown within each state or within 400 miles of the delivery destination that will be distributed to meet the unique...

Get Started! A Guide to USDA Resources for Historically Underserved Farmers and Ranchers, a new multi-agency guide for USDA assistance for underserved farmers and ranchers, is available online from USDA. If you are a farmer or rancher and are a minority, woman, veteran, beginning, or limited-resource producer, you can use this 40-page booklet to learn about assistance and targeted opportunities available to you. This includes programs offered through the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Risk Management Agency. The guide is also available in Spanish, Hmong, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese. ...

Approximately $400 million is available through USDA's new Regional Food Business Centers program to provide essential local and regional food systems coordination, technical assistance, and capacity building services. USDA will fund at least six regional centers, to include a national tribal center and at least one center serving each of three targeted areas: Colonias (counties on the US/Mexico border), persistent poverty or other communities of high need/limited resources areas of the Delta and the Southeast, and high-need areas of Appalachia, as well as centers in other regions of the country. The Regional Food Business Centers will provide coordination, technical assistance,...

USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced that producers with Federal crop insurance for crops in transition to organic or a certified organic grain or feed crop are eligible to receive premium assistance for the 2023 reinsurance year. The Transitional and Organic Grower Assistance (TOGA) Program, offered by RMA, reduces a producer's overall crop insurance premium bills, and helps them continue to use organic agricultural systems. Premium benefits for TOGA include 10 percentage points of premium subsidy for all crops in transition, $5 per acre premium benefit for certified organic grain and feed crops, and 10 percentage points of premium subsidy...

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced that an additional $21.9 million of funding is being awarded to 111 grant projects through the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant Program (MPIRG), bringing total funding to $54.6 million. The funding will help strengthen and develop new market opportunities for meat and poultry processors throughout the United States. Facility improvements and expansions funded through MPIRG will help processors obtain a Federal Grant of Inspection or qualify for a state's Cooperative Interstate Shipment program. To further these efforts, AMS is also encouraging MPIRG awardees and eligible participants in USDA's Meat and Poultry Supply Chain...

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service announced the award of more than $11.2 million to 22 grant projects through three grant programs: Acer Access and Development Program, the Federal State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP), and the Micro-Grants for Food Security Program (MGFSP). Acer Program funds are being distributed to four Market Development and Promotion projects and eight Producer and Landowner Education projects to increase market opportunities for the domestic maple syrup industry. Through FSMIP, USDA is awarding more than $1 million to five projects to explore new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products and to encourage research and...

USDA will mail the 2022 Census of Agriculture to millions of U.S. agriculture producers in phases, starting with an invitation to respond online in November followed by paper questionnaires in December. Farm operations of all sizes, urban and rural, which produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural product in 2022 are included in the ag census. The Census of Agriculture is conducted every five years by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and shows the value of U.S. agriculture. It highlights land use and ownership, producer characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures, among other...

USDA announced investments of $121 million in critical infrastructure to combat climate change across rural America. The investments include $111 million for 289 projects to help people living in socially vulnerable communities. This announcement includes funding awards through three programs specifically designed to help people and businesses in rural areas: Community Facilities Disaster Grants, Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants, and Rural Energy for America Program Energy Audits and Renewable Energy Development Grants. The funding will help agricultural producers and rural small businesses purchase and install renewable energy systems as...

USDA announced the appointment of 12 members to the newly established Equity Commission Subcommittee on Rural Community Economic Development (RCED). RCED Subcommittee members include representatives of community-based organizations, lending institutions, small business or cooperatives, tribal entities, and two members from the Equity Commission. The RCED Subcommittee will work with the Equity Commission and its Agriculture Subcommittee to provide recommendations to the Secretary that specifically address issues and concerns to rural development, persistent poverty, and underserved communities. The newly appointed subcommittee members reflect diversity in demographics, regions of the country, background, and in experience and expertise. A complete list of the...

USDA announced that the newly passed Inflation Reduction Act will deliver $19.5 billion in new conservation funding to support climate-smart agriculture. Under this funding, a streamlined initative will incentivize nutrient management activities through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), EQIP Conservation Incentive Contracts, and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Additionally, a new outreach campaign will highlight the economic benefits of nutrient management planning for farmers. The funding will also help streamline the certification process for Technical Service Providers....

USDA is awarding $197 million for locally led conservation projects through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), a partner-driven program that leverages partner resources to advance innovative projects that address climate change, enhance water quality, and address other critical challenges on agricultural land. The 41 funded agreements include both RCPP Classic and RCPP Alternative Funding Arrangements. Private landowners can apply to participate in an RCPP project in their region through awarded partners or at their local USDA service center. A complete list of projects that received funding is available online and includes initiatives to restore habitat, provide conservation easements, and improve...

USDA is awarding $2.2 million in Risk Management Education funding to 16 organizations to educate historically underserved producers, small-scale farmers, and others on farm risk management and climate-smart farm practices. This funding from USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) provides the resources for organizations to develop training and resources for producers on risk management options. The funded projects include in-person trainings, podcasts, online courses, and other opportunities for tribal, veteran, African American, and other producers to learn about crop insurance, marketing, and mitigating risk....

USDA published a proposed rule on Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards, proposing requirements for organic poultry and livestock living conditions, care, transport, and slaughter. The public comment period on the proposed rule will be open for 60 days from the August 5, 2022, publication date. USDA says this new proposed OLPS rule would change the USDA organic regulations to promote a fairer and more competitive market for organic livestock producers, by making sure that certified USDA livestock products are produced to the same consistent standard. USDA National Organic Program will also host a public webinar listening session on August 19,...

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is extending the comment period for its proposed rule titled Transparency in Poultry Grower Contracting and Tournaments for an additional 15 days, through August 23, 2022. Comments may be submitted anonymously. Information regarding the proposed rule and commenting process is available in a recorded webinar, posted on the AMS website. The webinar provides information regarding the proposed rule to protect American poultry growers from abuses and enhance competitiveness in U.S. livestock and poultry markets. Information is included in the webinar to instruct anyone who wishes to comment anonymously....

USDA encourages urban producers and others to attend the second public meeting of the Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production on August 5, 2022, from 1 to 3 pm Eastern Time. The Committee will discuss new urban conservation practices, focus areas and priorities for the Commission, and the new Farm Service Agency (FSA) urban county committees, among other topics. Register to attend the online meeting by August 4, 2022. USDA will post the final agenda 24 to 48 hours prior to the meeting on farmers.gov/urban....

USDA announced more than $10 million in Farm to School Grants to 123 projects across the country, to serve more than 3 million children at more than 5,000 schools in 44 states and the District of Columbia. USDA is also empowering states with $60 million in non-competitive grants to develop stronger and sustainable Farm to School programs over the next four years. These non-competitive grants will allow states to better assist program operators in purchasing and using more local foods in meals for kids between Fiscal Years 2023-2026. The resources will also expand agricultural education for children....

USDA reviews and renews the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) Charter every two years. The 2022 NOSB Charter update process is now complete, and the new version is posted on the AMS website. The 2022 NOSB Charter includes a change from previous charters. Four seats have been re-designated from being Representatives to being Special Government Employees (SGEs). The four re-designated seats include the three individuals with expertise in areas of environmental protection and resource conservation; and the one individual with expertise in the field of toxicology, ecology, or biochemistry. The transition to this designation will be accomplished either voluntarily by...

USDA's Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grassland Signup is accepting more than 3.1 million acres this year, the largest number in the history of the program. This program allows producers and landowners to continue grazing and haying practices while protecting grasslands and promoting plant and animal biodiversity and conservation. In total, about 5.6 million acres are entering CRP through various programs in 2023, surpassing the 3.9 million acres expiring this year. As part of the Agency's Justice40 efforts, producers and landowners who are historically underserved, including beginning farmers and military veterans, will receive 10 additional ranking points to enhance their offers....

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA efforts to ensure that Federal investments benefit communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution and underinvestment. The efforts are part of President Biden's Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver at least 40% of the overall benefits of climate, clean energy, affordable and sustainable housing, clean water, and other investments to disadvantaged communities. The programs that USDA identified as covered by the Justice40 Initiative are housed in four of USDA's eight mission areas: Farm Production and Conservation; Research, Education and Economics; Rural Development; and Natural Resources and Environment....

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack proclaimed June 20 – 26, 2022, as National Pollinator Week, dedicated to recognizing the role that pollinator species, such as bees, other insects, birds, and bats play in producing agricultural crops. USDA also released its "Annual Strategic Pollinator Priorities Report” that outlines USDA pollinator research and programmatic priorities for the coming year. Research priorities focus both on managed and wild pollinators. ...

USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced an outreach and education campaign to help prevent the introduction and spread of African swine fever in the United States. African swine fever is a deadly, highly contagious viral disease that affects both domestic and wild pigs. It does not impact human health but quickly spreads between swine populations. The new Protect Our Pigs website will house materials such as downloadable fact sheets and posters, instructional videos, shareable social media graphics, a new interactive biosecurity guide, and offer the latest disease updates. APHIS will host African Swine Fever: What You Need...

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) is accepting nominations for county committee members. County committee members make important decisions about how Federal farm programs are administered locally. Agricultural producers who participate or cooperate in a USDA program and reside in the Local Administrative Area that is up for election this year may be nominated for candidacy for the county committee. A cooperating producer is someone who has provided information about their farming or ranching operation to FSA, even if they have not applied or received program benefits. Individuals may nominate themselves or others and qualifying organizations may also nominate candidates. USDA...

USDA and Reinvestment Fund are partnering to invest $22.6 million through the Healthy Food Financing Initiative to improve access to healthy foods in underserved communities across the country. The investments that were announced will support 134 projects in rural, urban, and Tribal communities in 46 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C. For example, the funding will help San Carlos Apache communities develop a general store on a tribally owned 90-acre farm. The local food store will serve as the main retail outlet for locally grown fresh produce, value-added products, and other foods, staple goods, and crafts from the community. ...

USDA, in coordination with other federal agencies, announced that it will develop a pilot program utilizing up to $65 million in American Rescue Plan funding to provide support for agricultural employers in implementing robust health and safety standards to promote a safe, healthy work environment. The program will address labor shortages in agriculture, expand legal pathways for migration, and improve working conditions for farmworkers....

As part of its efforts to strengthen the food supply chain and transform the food system to be fairer, more competitive, and more resilient, USDA announced an investment of $43.1 million for grants and cooperative agreements for urban agriculture. Specifically, USDA is investing $10.2 million in new cooperative agreements to expand compost and food waste reduction efforts and $14.2 million in new grants to support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production projects. Additionally, $18.7 million will fund 75 worthy grant proposals from the 2021 application cycle. USDA also announced six new urban county committees to help deliver key...

USDA has announced details of a framework to transform the food system to benefit consumers, producers, and rural communities by providing more options, increasing access, and creating new, more, and better markets for small and mid-size producers. The new framework focuses on building a more resilient food supply chain, creating a fairer food system, making nutritious food more accessible and affordable for all consumers, and emphasizing equity. Specifically, USDA will invest up to $300 million in a new Organic Transition Initiative and up to $75 million to support urban agriculture. It will also provide financing and technical assistance for food...

USDA announced support, resources, and new rules that will strengthen the American food supply chain, promote fair and competitive agricultural markets, prevent abuse of farmers by poultry processors, and make prices fairer for farmers and American consumers. First, USDA announced a proposed rule under the Packers and Stockyards Act to protect poultry growers from abuse. USDA is also making available $200 million under the new Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program (MPILP) to strengthen the food supply chain and create opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs in rural communities. USDA also released a report on Promoting Competition in Agricultural Markets...

Related ATTRA publication: Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program and Whole-Farm Revenue Protection: Understanding the Differences USDA announced that commodity and specialty crop producers impacted by natural disasters in 2020 and 2021 will soon begin receiving emergency relief payments totaling approximately $6 billion through the Farm Service Agency's new Emergency Relief Program. Payments will help to offset both crop yield and value losses. For impacted producers, existing Federal Crop Insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) data is the basis for calculating initial payments. USDA estimates that phase one ERP benefits will reach more than 220,000 producers who received indemnities for losses...

USDA has extended the public comment period to identify the impacts of concentration and competition challenges in seed, fertilizer, other agricultural inputs, and retail markets. The new deadline is June 15, 2022. USDA seeks information about competition matters as they relate to: (1) fertilizer; (2) seed and agricultural inputs, particularly as they relate to the intellectual property system; (3) food retail, including access to retail for agricultural producers and small and medium-sized food processors through wholesale and distribution markets. USDA is seeking data on competition and market access for farmers and ranchers, new and growing market competitors, especially small and...

USDA announced that it is accepting more than two million acres in offers from agricultural producers and landowners through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) General signup, the first of the program's multiple signups occurring in 2022. Producers submitted re-enrollment offers for just over half of expiring acres, similar to the rate in 2021. However, offers for new land under General CRP were considerably lower than last year's numbers. Through CRP, producers and landowners establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve soil health and water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat on agricultural...

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the investment of almost $18 million in research funds to further develop transformative agricultural solutions through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The program targets early-stage projects in the private sector poised to deliver significant public benefits and strengthens the role of federal research and development in support of small businesses, many of which are owned by women or historically underserved populations. Grants were awarded to projects developing a gene-targeted insecticide for the red imported fire ant, an on-site soil testing system, soil-biodegradable plastic mulch, and a high-value seaweed cultivation...

USDA has unveiled a new plan to help guide voluntary conservation work over the next five years across 25 states, the Northern Bobwhite, Grasslands and Savannas Framework for Conservation Action. The plan outlines how USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will work with agricultural producers and partners like Quail Forever to increase adoption of targeted conservation practices that are good for farmers, ranchers, the bobwhite, and natural resources. The plan focuses on reducing threats, improving habitat, and implementing key conservation practices, including prescribed grazing, brush management, prescribed burning, herbaceous weed treatment, forage and biomass planting, contour buffer strips, and forest...

USDA is soliciting nominations for members to serve on its newly formed USDA National Pollinator Subcommittee. The subcommittee will be part of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) Advisory Board, which provides feedback to the Secretary of Agriculture, USDA's science agencies, and university collaborators on food and agricultural research, education, extension, and economics priorities and policies. USDA is seeking nominations for subcommittee members until May 31, 2022, from individuals with diverse expertise in pollinator health. USDA expects to appoint seven new Pollinator Subcommittee members for one- to three-year terms beginning in July 2022....

USDA announced its "Tribal Consultations on Barriers/Equity: Annual Progress Report & Feedback for Next Steps," a five-day consultation series. From April 11 through 18, USDA Consulting Officials will highlight progress made since last year's consultation and discuss potential solutions for ongoing issues with tribal nation representatives. Each day the consultations will focus on different themes: Economic Development; Food, Safety, and Trade; Farming, Ranching, and Conservation; Forests and Public Lands; and Education and Research. These tribal consultations are formal, government-to-government meetings between USDA officials and tribal nations. Tribal organizations, tribal citizens, and tribal nation staff are welcome to attend. Registration...

USDA announced that roducers may apply for CLEAR30, a voluntary, incentive-based conservation program, through August 5, 2022. Clean Lakes, Estuaries, And Rivers initiative (CLEAR30) is a nationwide opportunity for certain landowners and agricultural producers currently implementing water quality practices through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to enroll in 30-year contracts, extending the lifespan and strengthening the benefits of important water quality practices on their land. Annual rental payments for landowners who enroll in CLEAR30 will be equal to the current Continuous CRP annual payment rate plus a 20% water quality incentive payment and an annual rental rate adjustment of...

USDA encourages producers and landowners to enroll in the Grassland Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) open until May 13, 2022. Grassland CRP provides a unique opportunity for farmers, ranchers, and agricultural landowners to keep land in agricultural production and supplement their income while improving their soils and permanent grass cover. Grassland CRP is a federally funded voluntary working lands program. Through the program, USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides annual rental payments to landowners to maintain and conserve grasslands while allowing producers to graze, hay, and produce seed on that land. The annual rental rate varies by county with a national minimum...

Ranchers who have approved applications through USDA's 2021 Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) for forage losses due to severe drought or wildfire in 2021 will soon begin receiving emergency relief payments for increases in supplemental feed costs in 2021 through the Farm Service Agency's (FSA) new Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP). USDA will leverage LFP data to deliver immediate relief for increases in supplemental feed costs in 2021. FSA notes that it continues to evaluate and identify impacts of 2021 drought and wildfire on livestock producers to ensure equitable and inclusive distribution of much-needed emergency relief program benefits. Due to...

USDA National Organic Program (NOP) is reminding certified organic poultry producers of steps they can take in response to recent outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza. A policy memo notes that temporary confinement is allowed for the health of organic poultry and explains how producers can confine birds without jeopardizing organic certification....

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has established cooperative agreements with three non-profit organizations to coordinate and provide technical assistance through the Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity Technical Assistance Program (MPPTA). These organizations will also establish a national network of support for meat and poultry grant applicants to navigate the application process, and to assist grant recipients throughout their project. The Flower Hill Institute, a native owned nonprofit based out of the Jemez Pueblo in New Mexico, will serve as the MPPTA Technical Assistance Coordinator for this multi-year program. They are joined by Oregon State University's Niche Meat Processors Assistance Network...

Related ATTRA publication: Federal Working Lands Conservation Resources for Sustainable Farming and Ranching The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has updated Growing Opportunity: A Guide to USDA Sustainable Farming Programs. This free, comprehensive, practical guide is for farmers and ranchers who want to better understand which key federal programs offered by USDA can help them meet their needs and support their diversified, sustainable farming operations. The guide includes detailed and concise program summaries, reference links, and key resources related to dozens of USDA programs that are designed to help farmers and ranchers start, maintain, and grow successful operations. It's a resource for current...

USDA published a final rule in the Federal Register to amend the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances for crops and handling based on public input and October 2019 NOSB recommendations. This final rule provides additional options for organic farms by adding two substances to the list of substances allowed for organic crop production: fatty alcohols as sucker control in organic tobacco production and potassium hypochlorite to treat irrigation water used in organic crop production....

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service is establishing the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program to help states deal with the challenges of supply chain disruptions brought on by the pandemic. Through the LFS program, USDA will award up to $200 million to states for food assistance purchases of domestic local foods for distribution to schools. This program will strengthen the food system for schools by helping to build a fair, competitive, and resilient local food chain, and expand local and regional markets with an emphasis on purchasing from historically underserved producers and processors. Local and regional farmers and ranchers are...

USDA has extended the deadlines to apply for the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding opportunity after requests from many stakeholders. The deadline for the first funding pool, which encompasses requests from $5 million to $100 million, has been extended until May 6, 2022. The application deadline for the second funding pool, for proposals greater than $250,000 and under $5 million, has been extended to June 10, 2022....

USDA announced that it will support additional fertilizer production for American farmers to address rising costs, including the impact of Putin's price hike on farmers, and spur competition. USDA will make available $250 million through a new grant program this summer to support independent, innovative, and sustainable American fertilizer production to supply American farmers. Additionally, to address growing competition concerns in the agricultural supply chain, USDA will launch a public inquiry seeking information regarding seeds and agricultural inputs, fertilizer, and retail markets. Details on the application process will be announced in the summer of 2022, with the first awards expected...

USDA seeks qualified individuals to serve as peer reviewers to evaluate 2501 program (Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program) proposals for fiscal year 2022. The peer review approach brings together diverse individuals who can provide fair, expert, and unbiased evaluation of proposals. The process ensures that grant projects are properly planned, competition is open and fair, proposed budgets are carefully examined, and grant awards are structured to protect the interests of the government. The entire review process will be conducted virtually for approximately three to four weeks. Selected reviewers will receive...

USDA will host the first public meeting of the Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production on March 23-24, 2022. The public—including urban producers—is encouraged to attend. The new federal advisory committee is part of USDA's efforts to support urban agriculture, creating a network for feedback. Members were announced last month, and include agricultural producers, and representatives from the areas of higher education or extension programs, non-profits, business and economic development, supply chains and financing. To attend the meeting, register by March 18, 2022. Comments and questions should also be submitted by this date. At the meeting, committee...

USDA announced $130 million in supplemental American Rescue Plan Act funding for the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) for fiscal years 2022 and 2023. In fiscal year 2022, LAMP will receive a total of $97 million in competitive grant funding to help local and regional food entities develop, coordinate and expand producer-to-consumer marketing, local and regional food markets and local food enterprises. The total includes the first $65 million of supplemental ARP funding and $32 million in funds provided through the 2018 Farm Bill. Of the $97 million, LAMP's Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) will receive $57...

USDA Economic Research Service has published Cover Practice Definitions and Incentives in the Conservation Reserve Program. The report explores the tradeoff between quality and cost for Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) participants and USDA. This study examines recently developed data on the costs of cover practices to demonstrate how CRP's use of ranking points in the Environmental Benefits Index ranking tool and cost-share payments combine to incentivize some participants to adopt higher public-benefit practices. Based on the observed relationship between practices choices and costs, the study predicts how changes to the program costs and point system could influence the cover practices...

USDA is making available up to $215 million in grants and other support to expand meat and poultry processing options, strengthen the food supply chain, and create jobs and economic opportunities in rural areas. USDA Rural Development will make $150 million available in grants to fund startup and expansion activities in the meat and poultry processing sector. USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will provide another $40 million for workforce development and training, and the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will provide $25 million to offer technical assistance to grant applicants and others seeking resources related to meat and...

According to the National Hemp Report released by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the value of hemp production nationally was $834 million in 2021. Data gathered through the 2021 Hemp Acreage and Production Survey indicated that planted area for industrial hemp grown in the open for all utilizations in the United States totaled 54,152 acres. Area harvested for all utilizations totaled 33,480 acres. The value of U.S. hemp production in the open totaled $712 million. Meanwhile, the value of production for hemp that was grown under protection in the United States totaled $112 million, grown in an area that...

Related ATTRA publication: Biosecurity Basics Tipsheet for Pastured Poultry USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed highly pathogenic avian influenza in more states during the past week. It was confirmed in a flock of commercial broiler chickens in Kentucky, a mixed backyard flock in Virginia, and in non-poultry flocks in New York and Maine. Anyone involved with poultry production from the small backyard to the large commercial producer should review their biosecurity activities to assure the health of their birds. APHIS has materials about biosecurity, including videos, checklists, and a toolkit, available online. ...

USDA Economic Research Service released Organic Feed Grains and Livestock: Factors That Influence Outcomes in Thinly Traded Markets, a report that assesses the competition in the organic dairy, beef, and feed inputs markets. The report reveals that even as organic products have become more widely available, most organic growers in the United States still participate in niche markets. Despite an increase in organic production and market information, growers continue to face challenges related to thin markets. The full report is available online....

Agricultural producers who have coverage under most crop insurance policies are eligible for a premium benefit from USDA if they planted cover crops during the 2022 crop year, says USDA Risk Management Agency. To receive the benefit from this year's Pandemic Cover Crop Program (PCCP), producers must report cover crop acreage by March 15, 2022. PCCP helps farmers maintain their cover crop systems, despite the financial challenges posed by the pandemic. It's part of USDA's Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative, a bundle of programs to bring financial assistance to farmers, ranchers and producers who felt the impact of COVID-19 market...

Related ATTRA publication: Biosecurity Basics Tipsheet for Pastured Poultry USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in wild birds in several states in the Atlantic Flyway in January as well as in a commercial turkey flock in Indiana on February 8, 2022. APHIS is expanding wild bird surveillance for avian influenza to include the Mississippi and Central Flyways. APHIS advises that anyone involved with poultry should review their biosecurity plan and enhance their biosecurity practices to ensure the health of their birds. In addition to practicing good biosecurity, all bird owners should prevent contact between...

USDA has announced the members of its newly established Equity Commission. The 15-member commission and its Subcommittee on Agriculture will provide recommendations to the Secretary on policies, programs, and actions needed to address equity issues, including racial equity issues, within the Department and its programs, including strengthening accountability and providing recommendations to the Secretary on broader and more systemic equity issues at USDA. USDA plans to launch an additional Subcommittee focused on rural community and economic development. Lists of the Equity Commission members and Subcommittee members are available online....

USDA is seeking stakeholder feedback on regulatory priorities for the development of clear organic standards that support a level playing field and market development. A listening session to gather input virtually is scheduled for March 21, 2022, from 1:00-3:00 pm Eastern Time. The deadline to sign up to make oral comments during the virtual meeting is February 28, 2022. The deadline to submit written comments is March 30, 2022. USDA believes including a variety of perspectives in developing NOP priorities will lead to a regulatory agenda that best supports all those it serves....

USDA is soliciting nominations for membership to its National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) Advisory Board and its committees. The NAREEE Board is comprised of 15 members representing a specific category of U.S. agricultural stakeholders, and the Board's three committees include the Specialty Crop Committee (SCC), Citrus Disease Subcommittee (CDS), and National Genetic Resources Advisory Council (NGRAC). USDA expects to appoint or reappoint approximately 15 new Board and committee members in October 2022. Self-nominations are welcomed. Nominations are due by September 30, 2022....

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service is hiring additional Farm to School Regional Leads in seven different locations across the country. Farm to School Regional Leads help deepen and broaden farm to school across their respective regions. They manage USDA Farm to School grants, build capacity and connectivity among state agency and extension partners, support networks, provide training and technical assistance to a variety of stakeholders, and help disseminate research and best practices. Applications will be accepted until February 15, 2022....

USDA announced a new Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program that will finance pilot projects that create market opportunities for U.S. agricultural and forestry products that use climate-smart practices and include innovative, cost-effective ways to measure and verify greenhouse gas benefits. USDA defines a climate-smart commodity as an agricultural commodity that is produced using agricultural (farming, ranching, or forestry) practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon. Funding will be provided to partners through the USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation for pilot projects to provide incentives to producers and landowners. Applications will be due April 8, 2022, for proposals from $5...

USDA announced the appointment of four new members to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). The new members will serve 5-year terms on the 15 member board. New appointees are Liz Graznak of Missouri in an an environmental protection and resource conservation seat, Allison Johnson of California in a public interest or consumer interest group seat, Dr. Dilip Nandwani of Tennessee in the scientist seat, and Javier Zamora of California in a farmer seat....

USDA and the U.S. Department of Justice have launched a new online tool, farmerfairness.gov, to let farmers and ranchers anonymously report potentially unfair and anticompetitive practices in the livestock and poultry sectors. The agencies are signing an interagency Memorandum of Understanding to further foster cooperation and communication between the agencies and effectively process the complaints received through the portal. "This new online tool will help USDA and the Justice Department address anticompetitive actions and create livestock and poultry markets that are fairer to our nation’s producers," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "I encourage producers who are aware of potential violations...

USDA announced the 12 members selected to serve on the inaugural Secretary's Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture to provide input on policy development and to help identify barriers to urban agriculture. The Committee is made up of agricultural producers, and representatives from the areas of higher education or extension programs, non-profits, business and economic development, supply chains and financing. The new members will serve terms of one to three years. The first meeting of the committee will be open to the public and will take place in late February. More details will be available in the Federal Register and at...

USDA is making $72.9 million available through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) to fund innovative projects designed to support the expanding specialty crop sector and explore new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products. The SCBGP funds are allocated to U.S. states and territories based on a formula that considers both specialty crop acreage and production value. Applications from the states and territories must be submitted by May 3, 2022. Individual specialty crop producers should apply directly through their state departments of agriculture. ATTRA posts notices of open state-level Specialty Crop Block Grant Programs on the Funding...

USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will conduct the first-ever National Agroforestry Survey, with data collection beginning February 1 and concluding April 5, 2022. The survey will be sent to 11,100 farmers and ranchers nationwide to gather information on the five agroforestry practices used for climate, conservation, and production benefits, including windbreaks, silvopasture, riparian forest buffers, alley cropping, as well as forest farming and multi-story cropping. The survey is conducted cooperatively with the USDA National Agroforestry Center (NAC), which will release the summarized data in studies, press releases, and publications. Highlights will give an overview of how agroforestry practices...

Montana Department of Agriculture announced that 29 Montana agricultural producers are receiving grants totaling more than $3 million through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) Program. The Value-Added Producer Grant helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and marketing of new products. A list of the recipients is available online....

USDA has announced 2022 signup periods for the Conservation Reserve Program. The General CRP signup will run from January 31 to March 11, 2022, and the Grassland CRP signup will run from April 4 to May 13, 2022. General CRP helps producers and landowners establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat on cropland. Meanwhile, Grassland CRP is a working lands program, helping landowners and operators protect grassland, including rangeland and pastureland and certain other lands, while maintaining the areas as working grazing lands. Landowners and producers...

USDA National Organic Program (NOP) shared the results of an annual peer review process conducted to strengthen its organic accreditation and enforcement program. The 2021 Peer Review Report recommends one area of improvement: risk impartiality analysis. In response, NOP has requested that the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) review and facilitate public comment on its draft Risk Mitigation Table, outlining how the program safeguards impartiality in its oversight and enforcement activities....

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative is investing $9 million in six projects to bolster climate research and connect and share climate-smart solutions directly with the agricultural community. The funding goes to new Cooperative Extension and USDA Climate Hubs partnerships. "These new NIFA-funded projects will work toward net-zero emissions in agriculture, working lands and communities adapted to climate change, training a diverse workforce that can communicate and incorporate climate considerations into management and climate justice that is appropriate for unique U.S. agronomic conditions," said NIFA Director Dr. Carrie Castille. The projects are led by...

USDA has announced that it is investing $50 million in 118 partnerships to expand access to conservation assistance for climate-smart agriculture and forestry. The Equity Conservation Cooperative Agreements, administered by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will fund two-year projects to expand the delivery of conservation assistance to farmers who are new to farming, low income, socially disadvantaged, or military veterans. Projects will support USDA's broader effort to address climate change and equitable access to programs. A full list of the partnerships is available online. It includes funding for an NCAT project, "Investing in Underserved Farmers to Regenerate Their Farms'...

USDA and the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund have signed an agreement signifying a continued partnership to increase the number of minority landowners in the South and support them in sustainable forestry and agroforestry practices. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack signed on behalf of USDA's Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and National Agroforestry Center, which have roles in implementing the agreement. The agreement renews USDA's commitment to working with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives to assist African American landowners and other underserved farmers, and ensure they have access to critical resources and information. The agreement focuses on the...

Related ATTRA publication: Federal Working Lands Conservation Resources for Sustainable Farming and Ranching USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced new and expanded opportunities for climate smart agriculture in 2022. First is nationwide availability of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Conservation Incentive Contracts option, as well as a new and streamlined EQIP Cover Crop Initiative and added flexibilities for producers to easily re-enroll in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Specifically, NRCS is investing $38 million through the new targeted Cover Crop Initiative in 11 states to help agricultural producers mitigate climate change through the widespread adoption of cover crops. States include...

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the award of 10 grants totaling $6 million for Pollinator Health research to sustain healthy populations of pollinators, which are crucial to the nation's food security and environmental health. NIFA noted that pollinators play a vital role in the production of healthy crops for food, fiber, and other agricultural uses. Pollinator health projects address the current problem of declining populations of managed and wild pollinators, such as bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, moths, beetles, and bats. These grants are a part of NIFA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative program....

Related ATTRA resources: Fruits and Nuts USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) researchers created a new tool, called Pathogen and Tree Fruit Health Map (PATHMAP), that will connect growers in different states and allow them to share important data regarding tree fruit diseases, disorders, and insect pests. This online interactive tool will enable growers to modify and adjust their pathogen and pest-control programs based on real-time data, provide quick access to time-sensitive data, give access to experts in the field, provide access to previous years' observations, and track current diseases, disorders, and pests....

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Attorney General Merrick B. Garland have expressed their shared commitment to effectively enforcing federal competition laws that protect farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural producers and growers from unfair and anticompetitive practices, including the antitrust laws and the Packers and Stockyards Act. A statement of principles released by the two deartments asserts that farmers, ranchers, and other producers and growers deserve the benefits of free and fair competition, and the Justice Department and USDA therefore are prioritizing matters impacting competition in agriculture. The agencies will jointly develop within 30 days a centralized, accessible process for...

USDA Farm Service Agency has announced updates to the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). CREP is part of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and enables USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), through Farm Service Agency (FSA), and partners to co-invest in partner-led projects. CREP also plays an important role in USDA's broader climate change strategy, bringing together producers, landowners and partners for climate-smart land management. USDA has updated the CREP rule regarding matching fund requirements, allowing partners to provide the required 50% matching funds in the form of cash, in-kind contributions, or technical assistance. Additionally, USDA has invested in additional staff...

USDA has extended the deadline for agricultural producers who are certified organic, or transitioning to organic, to apply for the Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP). This program provides pandemic assistance to cover certification and education expenses. The deadline to apply for 2020 and 2021 eligible expenses is now February 4, 2022, rather than the original deadline of January 7, 2022....

Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is soliciting nominations for members to serve on the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection (NACMPI). USDA expects to appoint committee members in 2022. USDA is seeking nominations from individuals with knowledge and interest in meat and poultry food safety and other FSIS policies and is also seeking representation of small and very small establishments and geographic diversity of members. Persons in academia, industry, state and local government officials, public health organizations, and industry and consumer organizations are invited to submit nominations. Self-nominations are welcomed. All nominations must be received by February...

Related ATTRA Publication: Maple Sugaring: An Introduction to Small-Scale Commercial Production A new three-year, $470,387 USDA Acer Access and Development grant will allow the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension and partners to expand maple sugaring outreach and education efforts in Wisconsin. The project is geared toward private woodland owners, farmers, tribal communities, and other groups that have been overlooked by previous outreach efforts but are well positioned to take advantage of the economic, culinary, and cultural benefits of sugaring. From financial planning to equipment selection and product marketing, the project will meet landowners where they are and help them balance their...

USDA is making $100 million in American Rescue Plan Act available through the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program to furnish nearly $1 billion in loan guarantees; these loan guarantees will back private investment in processing and food supply infrastructure. Through the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program, USDA will partner with lenders to guarantee loans of up to $40 million to help eligible entities expand meat and poultry processing capacity and finance other food supply chain infrastructure. Lenders may provide the loans to eligible cooperatives, corporations, for profits, nonprofits, Tribal communities, public bodies, and people in rural and urban...

USDA has announced the establishment of the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA) that will award up to $400 million for emergency food assistance purchases of domestic local foods. Utilizing American Rescue Plan funds, these purchases will expand local and regional markets and place an emphasis on purchasing from historically underserved farmers and ranchers. The awards will be made through non-competitive cooperative agreements with state and tribal governments. Eligible state and tribal governments can apply until April 5, 2022. The cooperative agreements will provide organizations the flexibility to design food purchasing programs and establish partnerships with farmers and...

Staff from the National Center for Appropriate Technology’s (NCAT) ATTRA sustainable agriculture program had been planning for months to create a video tour of JSM Organics, one of the Latino-owned farms featured in this year’s Latino Farmer Conference.
By Ann Baier, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist...

USDA announced that it will provide approximately $75 million in American Rescue Plan funding to 20 organizations to provide technical assistance to connect underserved producers with USDA programs and services. Organizations were selected for their proven track records working with underserved producer communities, such as veterans, beginning farmers, limited resource producers, and producers living in high-poverty areas. The recipients are as follows: Federation of Southern Cooperatives, Intertribal Agriculture Council, National Black Farmers Association, The Socially Disadvantaged Farmer and Rancher Policy Center at Alcorn State University, Indian Land Tenure Foundation, Land Loss Prevention Project, Rural Coalition, Center for Farm Financial Management,...

USDA announced a $90.2 million investment in 203 projects to strengthen and explore new market opportunities for local and regional food businesses through the Local Agriculture Marketing Program. Through the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Programs, this funding will help support direct producer-to-consumer marketing projects such as farmers markets, community-supported agriculture programs, roadside stands, and agritourism, as well as regional food business intermediary supply chain activities including processing, distribution, aggregation, and storage of locally or regionally produced food products. Meanwhile, the Regional Food System Partnerships program will support partnerships that connect public and private resources to plan and develop...

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture announced that USDA's Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials program awarded two grants in the state. In the first project, Handsome Brook Farms will support five beginning farmers in adopting climate-smart regenerative egg practices. In the second project, as part of a multi-state effort, the University of Kentucky Research Foundation will increase adoption of bale grazing to improve winter feed management for beef cattle farmers by demonstrating the practical, economic and ecological benefits of this strategy....

USDA announced formation of the USDA Indigenous Food Sovereignty Initiative to promote traditional food ways, Indian Country food and agriculture markets, and Indigenous health through foods tailored to American Indian/Alaska Native dietary needs. To kick off the Initiative, the Office of Tribal Relations (OTR) is partnering with several tribal-serving organizations to develop seven projects that raise awareness of Indigenous perspectives about food and agriculture and inform future USDA programs and policies. Projects will explore issues such as marketing Indigenous-produced foods, supporting seed saving centers, and transitioning to bison production....

USDA is accepting applications for approximately $650 million in funding through the Pandemic Response and Safety (PRS) Grant Program until November 22, 2021. Small businesses and nonprofits can apply for a grant to cover COVID-related expenses such as workplace safety measures (e.g., personal protective equipment (PPE), retrofitting facilities for worker and consumer safety, shifting to online sales platforms, transportation, worker housing, and medical costs. Specialty crop producers and processors, aquaculture, apiculture, distributors, and farmers markets are eligible. USDA reminds potential applicants that the first step in applying is getting a DUNS number, which can take up to five days. ...

USDA is awarding $25 million for 18 new projects under the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials program. On-Farm Trials projects support widespread adoption and evaluation of innovative conservation approaches in partnership with agricultural producers. This year's awarded projects increase the adoption of new approaches and technologies to help agricultural producers mitigate the effects of climate change, increase the resilience of their operations, and boost soil health. Descriptions of the funded projects are available online. They include topics such as irrigation efficiency, bale grazing, pollinator conservation, and regenerative egg farming....

USDA is accepting applications for up to $20 million in assistance for producers through the new Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program. The program is part of USDA's Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative and can help cover eligible expenses incurred during fiscal years 2020, 2021, and/or 2022. The program offers assistance for both certified organic operations and operations that are in transition. The program offers cost share for organic certification expenses, registration for educational events on organic production and handling, and soil testing required under the National Organic Program. Applications for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 expense cost-shares will...

USDA is investing more than $243 million in grants through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and the Specialty Crop Research Initiative grants program. A total of $169.9 million in non-competitive SCBGP funding will go to the departments of agriculture in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories, to be used for sub-grants for activities and programs to increase demand for agricultural goods and address issues facing the specialty crop industry including food safety, plant pests and disease, research, education, and marketing and promotion. Meanwhile, the 21 grants through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI)...

Small-scale farmers, food processors or distributors, or farmers markets financially impacted by Covid-19 can now apply for up to $20,000 to recover costs related to the pandemic. The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is helping food producers access these dollars through the USDA’s Pandemic Response and Safety Grant Program. Applications are now open until Nov. 22, 2021....

USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has begun mailing its first Hemp Acreage and Production Survey to 20,500 producers across the nation. The hemp survey will collect information on the total planted and harvested area, yield, production, and value of hemp in the United States. Survey recipients are asked to reply online or by mail by October 25, 2021. NASS will publish the survey results February 17, 2022, on the NASS website and in the NASS Quick Stats searchable database....

USDA has a new online tool to help ranchers document and estimate payments to cover feed transportation costs caused by drought, which are now covered by the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP). The new ELAP Feed Transportation Producer Tool is a Microsoft Excel workbook that enables ranchers to input information specific to their operation to determine an estimated payment. ELAP now covers feed transportation costs where grazing and hay resources have been depleted. This includes places where drought intensity is D2 for eight consecutive weeks or drought intensity is D3 or greater....

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), a 15-member volunteer advisory board appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture, meets twice each year in a public forum to discuss and vote on recommendations to the USDA. USDA notes that the open meetings allow for public input on topics of interest to the organic community, and resulting standards support farmer and consumer confidence in the integrity of the USDA organic seal. The public comment days for the Fall Meeting are October 13-14, 2021, followed by the public meetings October 19-21, 2021. The meeting Zoom links, agenda, proposals, discussion documents, and Federal Register notice...

USDA announced the recipients of more than $6.6 million in grants and cooperative agreements awarded through the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. USDA is awarding $4.75 million for 10 Planning Projects and 11 Implementation Projects, as well as $1.92 million for 24 pilot projects to develop and implement strategies for municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans. The Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (UAIP) Competitive Grants Program will support activities such as operating community gardens and nonprofit farms, increasing food production and access in economically distressed communities, providing job training and education, and developing business plans and...

USDA announced that it will award $18.6 million in grants to provide training, outreach, and technical assistance to historically underserved and veteran farmers and ranchers in 21 states through the 2501 Program. Descriptions of the 29 funded projects are available online. The Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (The 2501 Program) helps socially disadvantaged farmers, ranchers, foresters, and veterans who have historically experienced limited access to USDA programs and services. ...

USDA is investing $4.7 million to establish partnerships with organizations to provide outreach and technical assistance to historically underserved farmers and ranchers. The partnerships will support participation in Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs, including those that are part of USDA's Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. USDA is funding 56 proposals, covering all states and territories, to assist historically underserved farmers and ranchers in accessing FSA programs. ...

USDA announced that nine projects to improve the oversight capacity of the organic industry will receive $1.73 million in funding. Projects will support and expand the pool of qualified inspectors, reviewers, and other professionals who oversee organic production. The funded projects provide support across the human capital pipeline, from initial workforce development to creating resources for existing professionals. Specifically, the funded projects will support creation of training and educational programs, recruitment strategies, mentorship opportunities, inspector apprenticeships, and professional development resources. A list of recipients is available online....

USDA announced the projects that will receive more than $146 million in funding through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture's (NIFA) Sustainable Agricultural Systems program. This investment is part the third installment of NIFA grants within its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative's (AFRI) Sustainable Agricultural Systems program, designed to improve plant and animal production and sustainability, and human and environmental health. These grants are available to eligible colleges, universities and other research organizations. Descriptions of the 15 funded projects are available online. They include projects focused on agrivoltaics, crop diversification, hemp as an aquaculture feed, algae as a livestock...

USDA announced that it is planning for another $100 million from the American Rescue Plan Act that will be used to furnish loan guarantees to help leverage additional funding for expanding meat and poultry processing capacity and financing other food supply chain infrastructure. According to USDA, the loan guarantees will help start-up or expand entities in our food supply chain that aggregate, process, manufacture, wholesale or distribute food; address supply chain bottlenecks; and increase the resiliency of the food supply chain. USDA is preparing to issue a notice soon to announce eligibility requirements and the application window. ...

If you’re a small-scale farmer, food processor or distributor, or farmers market and have been financially impacted by Covid-19, you may be able to access up to $20,000 to recover costs related to the pandemic. NCAT is helping food producers access these dollars through the USDA’s Pandemic Response and Safety Grant Program. Applications will open in early October. Producers should get prepared for the application period now....

A new report from USDA Economic Research Service documents a growing market for chicken products raised without any antibiotics. The Market for Chicken Raised Without Antibiotics, 2012–17 says that household expenditures for classic, processed, and sausage products labeled as "raised without antibiotics" grew substantially during the study period. The report also notes that the chicken labeled as being raised without antibiotics commanded higher prices per pound than conventional chicken products. The authors point out that "[t]hese findings suggest there is significant consumer interest and market opportunities for production practices between conventional and organic."...

At the United Nations Food Systems Summit, USDA highlighted planned investments and several steps it has taken to advance the goals of ending hunger and malnutrition and building more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive food systems. For example, USDA announced the formation of the Coalition of Action on Sustainable Productivity Growth for Food Security and Resource Conservation, a global, multi- sector coalition that will accelerate the transition to more sustainable food systems through agricultural productivity growth that optimizes the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainability. USDA also announced that it plans to invest $5 billion from the American Rescue Plan...

Designed and patented by Dr. Dan Pote, the Subsurfer inserts dry poultry litter a few inches into the soil profile without disturbing the soil. It’s kind of like a combination of a no-till seed drill and a manure spreader. It was originally designed to be used in pasture and forage production systems, but Dr. Ashworth has been leading a three-year research project to assess its use in organic specialty crop production. This research, funded by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, is trying to determine best practices for using the Subsurfer in organic sweet corn and edamame production.
By Nina Prater,...

I have recently been awakened to a re-evaluation of risk and uncertainty. Have these changes in risk and uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the need and desire to re-examine crop insurance?
By Jeff Schahczenski, NCAT Agricultural and Natural Resource Economist...