Rural Development


USDA Compass Tool Highlights Local Food Programs

July 1, 2015

Under the Obama Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has focused in a consistent and substantive way on investments in local and regional food systems. Its innovative online tool — appropriately named the “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass Map” — allows organizations and individuals to search an online database and map to […]

Technical Assistance Available for Community Development and Local Food Systems

July 1, 2015

Local Foods, Local Places 2015 The Local Foods, Local Places Initiative is once again accepting applications from communities seeking technical assistance to integrate local food systems into community economic action plans. Announced on June 30, 2015, the Initiative’s request for applications represents the second time that communities around the U.S. (including neighborhoods or main street […]

$16 Million Available for Rural Micro-Enterprise Development in 2015

June 19, 2015

Very small businesses are the lifeblood of rural America, yet small entrepreneurs often struggle to access credit and business training. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) operates a rural development program — the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) — aimed at addressing this gap. RMAP provides loans and grants to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs) — […]

2016 Funding Bill Opens Payment Loophole, Cuts Conservation and Renewable Energy

June 19, 2015

On Thursday, June 18, the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee passed its funding bill for fiscal year (FY) 2016. Overall, the bill provides $20.65 billion in discretionary funding, $175 million less than last year’s enacted level and a whopping $1.1 billion less than the USDA request. The full House Appropriations Committee will now take up the […]

USDA Invests $6.7 Million in Rural Energy Projects

June 16, 2015

On Wednesday, June 10, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced an investment of $6.7 million in 544 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects through the farm bill’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP grants and loans help farmers, ranchers, and small business owners reduce energy use and develop and install renewable energy sources. […]

Value-Added Producer Grants – Great Program but Problems Persist with USDA Rules

June 5, 2015

On Friday, May 8th, the Rural Business Cooperative Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its final rule for the Value Added Producer Grant program (VAPG), effective immediately. This final rule was published in conjunction with the latest announcement of $30 million in funding available for VAPG projects in 2015. The final rule […]

Rural Child Poverty – New White House Report and Initiative

May 29, 2015

Addressing rural child poverty is the subject of a recently launched White House “Rural Impact” initiative, including a recently published report highlighting the trends in rural poverty in the United States and plans to address the issue through various federal safety net programs and investments. The Report — Opportunity for All: Fighting Rural Child Poverty […]

Strategic Economic and Community Development Rule – Open for Comment!

May 20, 2015

On Tuesday, May 19, the US Department of Agriculture published an interim rule on the Strategic Economic and Community Development program under Section 6025 of the 2014 Farm Bill. This rule, which goes into effect on June 19, sets aside up to 10 percent of funds appropriated to a handful of Rural Development (RD) programs to focus some […]

Upcoming Deadlines for Federal Farm and Food Programs

May 20, 2015

With seeds in the soil and summer approaching, deadlines for federal farm and food grant programs are coming up as quickly as your seedlings! For farmers, ranchers, and groups who work with producers, the next few months are critical to ensure timely and successful completion of applications, so read on! NSAC has compiled a list of upcoming deadlines […]

Organizations Defend Rural Development Funding in 2016 Appropriations

May 18, 2015

On Thursday, May 14, the Campaign for a Renewed Rural Development (CRRD) — a coalition of organizations that works to advance rural development — delivered a letter urging the House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittees to support key rural development programs during the fiscal year (FY) 2016 appropriations process. The letter urges appropriators to protect and […]

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