Conservation, Energy & Environment

$350 Million to Protect Wetlands, Grasslands, and Farmland

November 20, 2015

On Thursday, November 19, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the availability of $350 million in fiscal year (FY) 2016 for long-term easements to protect wetlands, grasslands, and farm and ranch land. The funding is available through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), which the 2014 Farm Bill created by combining the Wetland Reserve […]

CAFOs and Cover Crops: A Closer Look at 2015 EQIP Dollars

November 20, 2015

What do Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and cover crops have in common? Both receive millions of dollars in funding each year through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). This post digs into EQIP data from Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 to highlight major conservation wins, as well as identify critical opportunities for improvements in this working […]

New Guidebook Will Help Organic Farmers Access Conservation Programs

November 19, 2015

On Thursday, November 19, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) published a new handbook to help NRCS field staff work more effectively with organic and transitioning-to-organic producers. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, which along with several of its member organizations contributed to the new guide, issued a press release on the […]

New Resources for Transitioning to Organic Production

November 18, 2015

This fall, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released two resources aimed at helping producers transition to organic production, with one more expected soon. Here is a brief rundown, plus a quick review of major USDA conservation program decisions coming down the pike. New Business Planner On November 13, the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) […]

What’s the Conservation Stewardship Program “Makeover” All About?

November 17, 2015

The Conservation Stewardship Program, the largest conservation program in the United States, is undergoing a major overhaul, or “makeover” for the 2016 sign-up period.

New Study Finds Investment in Agroecology Falls Short

November 16, 2015

On Friday, November 10, the Journal of Environmental Science & Policy published an article, Investing in the transition to sustainable agriculture, which provides an analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and partners to identify how much U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2014 competitive grant funding for research and education incorporated agroecology. According to […]

New Initiative to Help Farmers Help Monarchs

November 13, 2015

On Thursday, November 12, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) announced the availability of $4 million to provide food and habitat for monarch butterflies in the Midwest and southern Great Plains. This new conservation effort will aid farmers and ranchers in providing food and habitat for monarch butterflies in 10 […]

USDA Provides 2016 Guidance for Organic, High Tunnel and Other Conservation Initiatives

November 11, 2015

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) recently provided its state NRCS offices with instructions on how and when to administer various conservation initiatives for fiscal year (FY) 2016. The guidance, Instructions for Implementing National Program and Landscape Conservation Initiatives, covers initiatives that are funded through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program […]

What to Look for in the FSMA Produce Rule

November 5, 2015

On November 2, FDA announced that the food safety rule governing the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of produce — as well as rules governing foreign suppliers and third party accreditation – was submitted to the Federal Register for final publication.

Senate Fails to Stop Clean Water Rule, but Key Protections Still on Hold

November 4, 2015

On Monday, November 3, the Senate failed to garner the support necessary to move forward with a bill that would have required the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw and re-propose the regulation that clarifies the scope of the agency’s jurisdiction over “waters of the U.S.” under the Clean Water Act. This bill was […]

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