Conservation, Energy & Environment


USDA Enrolls 4.3 Million Acres in 39th CRP Sign-up

September 14, 2010

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced today that it will enroll 4.3 million acres of the farmland offered by landowners for the Conservation Reserve Program’s (CRP) 39th general sign-up.  This is the first general sign-up for the CRP since 2006. Over 50,000 landowners submitted bids for CRP contracts, totaling 4.8 million acres. Of the 4.8 […]

ERS Details the Role of Agriculture in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

September 14, 2010

On Tuesday, September 7, USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) released a briefing paper discussing the agricultural sector’s role in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The brief outlines policy options for encouraging farmers to reduce their GHG emissions.  These options include a federal cap-and-trade system to regulate the nationwide burning of fossil fuels; direct incentive payments […]

NSAC Comments on America’s Great Outdoors

September 8, 2010

At its annual meeting in August, the member organizations of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition developed and adopted a statement on President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) Initiative.  The NSAC statement calls attention to the critical role played by USDA working agricultural lands conservation programs in advancing the Initiative’s goals.  The document has been submitted […]

FSA Issues Conservation Loan Rule

September 3, 2010

On Thursday, September 2, USDA announced the launch of the Conservation Loan program established by the 2008 Farm Bill.  Though Congress appropriated money for the loan program in fiscal year 2010, enough to fund $150 million worth of loans, the program has been stymied waiting on the rulemaking. The new interim final rule appears in […]

Livestock Market Concentration Workshop Held in CO

August 28, 2010

On Friday, August 27, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, presided over joint USDA and Department of Justice hearings to examine competition in the livestock market.   Held in Fort Collins, Colorado, this was the fourth in a series of workshops to discuss market consolidation and market transparency.   According to the […]

EPA Releases Clean Water Act Strategy

August 24, 2010

On Friday, August 20, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft strategy for improving clean water goals.  The new draft strategy is open for public comment until September 17.  A final strategy is expected before year’s end. Comments may be read and made here. According to the draft, “Despite our best efforts and many […]

USDA Grants for Renewable Energy Systems Feasibility Studies

August 6, 2010

On Friday, August 6, USDA announced that $3 million in FY2010 funding is available for grants to conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy systems for agriculture producers and rural small businesses.  The grants are part of the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).  Grant applications must be submitted to your state Rural Development office by […]

USDA Interim Rule for the Conservation Reserve Program

July 30, 2010

On Wednesday, July 28, USDA issued an interim rule to implement provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) which were not implemented under two previously issued CRP interim rules.  The interim rule is effective immediately.  USDA is taking public comments on the interim rule, due by September 27, 2010, that […]

Legislative Roundup: Farm Credit Funding Passes, Other Food and Farm Legislation Could Move

July 28, 2010

[Friday July 30 update to story below — A measure to fund the Pigford II class action settlement between USDA and black farmers is now expected to come to the Senate floor early next week as a stand alone measure.  The Food Safety Modernization Act (S 510) is now not expected to be taken up […]

Conservation Reserve Program General Sign-Up Announced

July 27, 2010

On Monday, July 26, USDA announced that a Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up will be held from August 2-27, 2010.  This is the 39th sign-up for the CRP according to the somewhat unusual Farm Service Agency (FSA) sign-up counting system. It will be the first general sign-up since 2006. Under a CRP general sign-up, […]

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