November 10, 2014
Today marks the release of NSAC’s 2014 Grassroots Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs – a free digital resource to help farmers, conservationists, entrepreneurs, researchers, and rural and urban community groups navigate federal programs that can help them build a more sustainable farm and food future. This comprehensive digital guide offers plain-language explanations of the dozens of federal programs and policies most important to sustainable agriculture and how farmers, ranchers, and grassroots organizations nationwide can access them.
For example, a beginning farmer looking for resources to help secure land can learn about the Down Payment Loan Program, which combines the resources of USDA’s Farm Service Agency, a beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer, and a commercial lender or private seller to enable beginning, minority, and women farmers to purchase a farm or ranch.
Or a community nonprofit working in partnership with a local school district on sourcing more local produce can learn about the Farm to School Grant Program, which provides grants on a competitive basis to increase local food procurement for school meal programs and expand educational agriculture and gardening activities.
As in the past, NSAC and our member organizations from around the country worked to shift more taxpayer support of food and agriculture toward the public good in the 2014 Farm Bill. The final bill invests over $1.2 billion over the next five years in the innovative programs for beginning farmers, local food, organic agriculture, rural development, and specialty crops.
Securing new policies and programs in various key pieces of legislation is only the first step of the process, however, in building a more sustainable food and farming system. Equally important is making sure information about these programs get to the farmers, researchers, entrepreneurs, and community-based organizations that can benefit from them. With that goal in mind, the Grassroots Guide includes up-to-date information on conservation, credit, marketing, rural development, research, and food programs authorized in the farm bill and other pieces of federal legislation – including recent policy changes made in the 2014 Farm Bill.
The guide is organized into nine chapters that details over 40 federal food and farm programs, along with a quick-reference overview chart, glossary, and other resources – all accessible via NSAC’s publications page. The guide is organized into the following topic areas:
This digital Grassroots Guide will be updated continually as new programs are finalized and modified both by USDA and Congress in the years to come. To access the Grassroots Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs, visit the NSAC website publications page.