NSAC's Blog


Specialty Crop Research Initiative Grants Announced

October 3, 2014

On October 2, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced more than $51 million in awards from the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI).  SCRI provides grants for regional research and extension projects to support producers of fruits, vegetables, nursery crops, and other specialty crops. This is the first time since 2012 that SCRI […]

New USDA Tools to Help Locate Local Food

October 2, 2014

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) unveiled new and updated tools to help consumers, producers, and community leaders find local food sources in their region. As part of the ongoing Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, AMS presented new directories for three different types of local food sources and an updated version […]

Organic Farms Noteworthy in Many Ways According to USDA Census of Agriculture

October 2, 2014

On September 30, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released more detailed organic agriculture data from the 2012 Census of Agriculture.  The basic Census information was published earlier this year.  The Census of Agriculture has been conducted since 1840 and currently is collected once every five years.  NSAC’s discussion of the first release, from May […]

60 Members of Congress and 17 Non-Profit Groups Urge EPA to Limit Neonicotinoid Pesticides

October 1, 2014

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is getting pressure from environmental and sustainable agriculture organizations and members of Congress to investigate and restrict the use of neonicotinoids, a class of pesticides linked to declining pollinator populations. Neonicotinoids are being cited as one of several factors contributing to Colony Collapse Disorder in bees, leading to sharp […]

Awards Promoting Local and Regional Farmers and Food Systems Announced

September 30, 2014

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced over $32.8 million in awards from three grant programs

USDA Announces $23 Million in Grants for Organic Research

September 30, 2014

On Monday, September 29, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced over $23 million in grants to support organic farming research.  The money was awarded through the Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI)—the flagship research competitive grants program dedicated to funding research relevant to organic producers—and the Organic […]

New Grant Funding Available to Encourage SNAP Participants to Buy from Local Produce Farmers

September 29, 2014

On Monday, September 29, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) released  its very first request for applications (RFA) for the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives (FINI) Grant program, a new competitive grants program created in the 2014 Farm Bill to improve the health of low-income communities while boosting economic opportunities for […]

Rural Poverty Rates and Income Improving Slowly

September 26, 2014

Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau released its report Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013, which showed the number of Americans living in poverty declining for the first time since 2006, but with the poverty rate in rural America still higher than the national level.  While the U.S. Census Bureau report delivers some good news, the lagging […]

Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program Awards Announced

September 25, 2014

On Wednesday, September 24, USDA Rural Development Acting Under Secretary Doug O’Brien announced $19.8 million in grant and loan funding under the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) to 44 organizations, enabling them to provide microloans and training and technical assistance to rural microentrepreneurs who are seeking to start or grow small businesses and create jobs. These awardee organizations, […]

Three Vermont Projects Receive USDA Grants to Promote Sustainable Agriculture and Local Foods

September 25, 2014

On September 12, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development agency announced almost $3 million in awards through the Rural Business Enterprise Grants (RBEG) and Rural Business Opportunity Grants (RBOG) programs to promote sustainable economic development in rural regions. Eleven projects in New York, North Dakota, and Vermont received RBEG funding, totaling $1,258,825.  RBOG funding went […]

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