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Funding for Risk Management Education Available – Includes Whole Farm Revenue Protection Training

July 2, 2015

Risk Management Education Partnerships

On Wednesday, July 1, USDA’s Risk Management Agency announced via website press release its Request for Applications (RFA) for the Risk Management Education Partnerships Program. Approximately $2.0 million in funds is available for the program. The RFA itself is available on the RMA website as well as on grants.gov here.

The deadline for proposals to be submitted is August 14, 2015. Project start dates will be September 30, 2015. Projects will be funded for up to one year, and will range from $20,000 to $100,000 per project. Funding in recent years has averaged a bit over $80,000 per project.

The goal of the program is to help producers use the full range of existing and emerging risk management tools, including but by no means limited to crop insurance. In fact, priority recipients of the education and training are producers of crops that either do not have access to crop insurance or that participate in crop insurance at levels below the national average for crops in general. That latter includes livestock and forage.

Photo Credit: USDA

Photo Credit: USDA

In this year’s RFA, priority is also given to:

  • Crop insurance education related to Whole Farm Revenue Protection, insurance for organic farming, specialty crops, and forage, as well as two new expensive farm bill programs – Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) and Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX);
  • Recordkeeeping for organic production, as well as for proving a loss or establishing liability;
  • Farm financial benchmarking;
  • Risk management training in Strike Force or Promise Zone areas;
  • Translating Risk Management Education materials into Spanish, Hmong, or Navajo.

This is an excellent opportunity for groups working with farmers on the ground to do training with farmers and insurance agents on Whole Farm Revenue Protection.

This new policy is a program that the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition championed in the 2014 Farm Bill.

Not called out as a priority in this RFA, though included in previous ones, are subjects like farm succession planning, farm labor, food safety, local food marketing and branding, and conservation best practices to reduce risk. Though not priorities for this cycle, these types of topics would still be eligible.

The new RFA does specifically mention that applicants “may propose additional tasks that would contribute directly to the purpose of this program such as but not limited to individual or group Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification, other food-safety related education and training activities, or activities targeting producers engaged in local or regional food systems…”

Photo Credit: SARE Outreach

Photo Credit: SARE Outreach

Projects can be targeted to any US producers, but special attention in the RFA is given to limited resource farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers, new and beginning farmers, women, veterans, and local and regional food system farmers.

Eligible applicants include NGOs, CBOs, Extension, State Departments of Agriculture, producer groups, colleges and universities, and faith-based groups.

There are eight Risk Management Agency offices around the country that will manage the program and generally are collaborators with the awardees.  Applicants apply to a specific office based on the project location.

  • Billings, Montana Regional Office: MT, ND, SD, and WY
  • Davis, California Regional Office: AZ, CA, HI, NV, and UT
  • Jackson, Mississippi Regional Office: AR, KY, LA, MS, and TN
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Regional Office: NM, OK, and TX
  • Raleigh, North Carolina Regional Office: CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT, and WV
  • Spokane, Washington Regional Office: AK, ID, OR, and WA
  • Springfield, Illinois Regional Office: IL, IN, MI, and OH
  • St. Paul, Minnesota Regional Office: IA, MN, and WI
  • Topeka, Kansas Regional Office: CO, KS, MO, and NE
  • Valdosta, Georgia Regional Office: AL, FL, GA, SC, and Puerto Rico

Applications are accepted online via grants.gov and the deadline is August 14, 2015.

Targeted State Education Program

RMA has also released the new RFA for the Targeted States Crop Insurance Education Program. Under that program, $5 million is available more specifically for crop insurance education in the 16 states that historically have had the lowest level of participation in the federal crop insurance program — all of the Northeastern states  from West Virginia to Maine, as well as Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.

Each state has a specified sub-funding level, so read the RFA carefully. Grants in the past have averaged a bit under $300,000 per award.

As with the nationwide Education Partnership Program, the Targeted State RFA also highlights the Whole Farm Revenue Protection Program as a target of this year’s funding. Read more about the producer survey on the Whole Farm Revenue Protection Program in a guest post by the Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA.

Also, in particular, projects are sought that are targeted to beginning farmers, legal immigrant farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers, farmers that are planning to retire and are using transition strategies to help beginning farmers get started, and farmers who are transitioning production systems to pursue new market opportunities.

Applications are accepted online via grants.gov and the deadline is August 14, 2015.

Categories: Commodity, Crop Insurance & Credit Programs, Local & Regional Food Systems, Organic

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