Conservation, Energy & Environment

Secretary Vilsack Announces Recovery Act Funding to Improve Water Quality

September 22, 2010

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced this week that the USDA will disperse $445.3 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) funding to 89 projects to improve water quality and sanitation.  The USDA has provided $3.26 billion in Recovery Act funding for water quality and environmental projects since the Act was enacted in […]

Sustainable Ag Symposium a Success

September 17, 2010

On Thursday, September 16, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Organic Farming Research Foundation, Farm Foundation, National Academy of Sciences, and USDA sponsored an all-day symposium on the recently published National Research Council report Toward Sustainable Agricultural Systems in the 21st Century. The event, held at the National Press Club, was attended by 125 people, including […]

Freshwater Summit’s Call to Action

September 16, 2010

On September 15, the participants in The Johnson Foundation’s Freshwater Summit issued a report entitled Charting New Waters: A Call to Action to Address U.S. Freshwater Challenges.  Participants in the Summit held earlier this year included businesses, environmental non-profit organizations, a Western farming organization, and government officials, who reviewed the findings of numerous earlier meetings […]

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 […]

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