Conservation, Energy & Environment


NRCS Agricultural Water Enhancement Program Projects Funding

April 2, 2010

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced that it is taking applications for Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) projects until May 17, 2010.   AWEP was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill to replace the Ground and Surface Water Conservation Program, a component of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).   AWEP expanded the […]

Can Bioenergy Production Be Sustainable?

April 1, 2010

The National Wildlife Federation has released a new policy paper, Growing a Green Energy Future: A Primer and Vision for Sustainable Biomass Energy, that concludes that the U.S. can do much more to improve the conservation and environmental performance of bioenergy production.  The paper lays out the changes needed in U.S. policy for bioenergy production […]

USDA Releases Request for Applications for AFRI Competitive Grants

March 26, 2010

This week, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (formerly, the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service) released the long-anticipated 2010 Request for Applications (RFAs) for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).  Significantly overhauled and with more funding to award than ever, the AFRI RFAs define a substantive portion of USDA’s research agenda, […]

Action Alert: Help Make Next Generation Biofuels Sustainable

March 26, 2010

The addition of an Energy Title to the 2008 Farm Bill was an important acknowledgment of the critical and emerging role for agriculture in the production of renewable energy.  Particularly promising was the creation of the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) to provide incentives to farmers and foresters for the production of energy efficient and resource […]

Senate Agriculture Committee Reports Child Nutrition Bill: Farm to School Included; Conservation Cuts Major Point of Contention

March 24, 2010

On Wednesday, March 24, the Senate Agriculture Committee approved the child nutrition reauthorization bill (Healthy Hunger-Free Kids’ Act of 2010) by unanimous consent. The bill increases spending on nutrition programs by $4.5 billion over the next ten years and includes several important school meal program improvements including improved access, nutritional standards, and per meal federal […]

Clean Water Network’s “March Madness” DC Gathering

March 22, 2010

The Clean Water Network, a coalition of over 1,000 organizations working together to protect the nation’s waters, held a “March Madness” fly-in in Washington D.C. on March 14-16.  NSAC and many of our member organizations are Network members. Key fly-in events had an agricultural focus.  A congressional briefing on March 15, entitled “The Mississippi – […]

Lincoln Introduces Child Nutrition Bill for Markup

March 17, 2010

This morning, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) unveiled her “markup vehicle” for Child Nutrition Act reauthorization and scheduled Committee markup of her draft bill for next Wednesday, March 24.  The proposal is titled “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.” Farm to School would receive just $25 million in the current Lincoln draft.  However, […]

Organic Initiative Sign-up Extended in Certain States

March 15, 2010

The cut-off date for the 2010 Organic Initiative sign-up was last Friday, March 12, in most states.  At least eight states, however, have extended the 2010 sign-up period.  These include: Colorado:  April 16, 2010 Illinois:  March 26, 2010 Louisiana:  March 26, 2010 Missouri:  March 19, 2010 Nebraska:  April 1, 2010 Nevada:  March 19, 2010 Ohio:  […]

10 Days of Sustainable Ag Advocacy: An Intern’s Perspective

March 15, 2010

by Kara Slaughter, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute “With reference to individual or national welfare, agriculture is of primary importance.”  -George Washington So reads one of the three quotations at the top of the stone edifice at the U.S. Department of Agriculture headquarters in Washington, D.C.  Part of what prompted me to quit my “real job” […]

Vilsack and Merrigan At Senate Agricultural Appropriations Hearing

March 10, 2010

Appropriations season is in full swing in Washington, and appropriators are deciding which programs to fund and which to cut. Hearings on funding levels for 2011 are occurring almost daily, as the House and Senate Appropriations Committees begin the annual process that generally results in markups in late spring, floor votes in the summer, and […]

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