the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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usda press release: organic markets are growing, 2014 farm bill funding helps access these markets

USDA organic

In today’s press release, the USDA has announced new figures that show the organic industry continues to grow domestically and internationally. Certified organic farms and businesses in the United States have witnessed a 245% increase since 2002 while consumer demand continues to increase exponentially. To help producers further access these markets, the 2014 farm bill has included provisions to support the organic community, including:

  • $20 million annually for organic research, agricultural extension programs and education.
  • $5 million to fund data collection on organic agriculture for policy reform.
  • Expanded options for organic crop insurance
  • Expanded exemptions for organic producers who are paying into commodity “check off” programs, and authority for the USDA to consider an application for the organic sector to establish its own check off.
  • Improved enforcement authority for the National Organic Program to conduct investigations.
  • $5 million for a technology upgrade of the National Organic Program to provide up-to-date information about certified organic operations across the supply chain.
  • $11.5 million annually for certification cost-share assistance, which reimburses the costs of annual certification for organic farmers and livestock producers by covering 75% of certification costs, up to $750/year.

For more information,  check out the USDA Organic Resources Page


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great context-setting events

 

Part IV begins next week. Screen shot 2014-03-19 at 6.17.02 PM

Our policy workshop webinar series investigates four broad themes in food and agriculture policy. Part I explores linkages between theory and practice in food justice; Part II, a legal framework for the new food movement; Part III part examines GMOs and intellectual property; and Part IV, the farm bill and the future of farming.

To join the webinar mailing list for updates and registration information, please contact Susanne Stahl at susanne.stahl@yale.edu. More information is available at http://envirocenter.yale.edu.

The Farm Bill and the Future of Farming
Kari Hamerschlag, Senior Analyst, Environmental Working Group Wednesday, March 26, 2014 | 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT

Martha Noble, Vice-Chair, Agricultural Management Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources Thursday, April 3, 2014 | 12:00 – 1:00 PM EDT

Ariane Lotti, Assistant Policy Director, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | 12:00 – 1:00 PM EDT

Sarah Carlson, Midwest Cover Crop Research Coordinator, Practical Farmers of Iowa Tuesday, April 22, 2014 | 12:00 – 1:00 PM EDT


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mainstream on farm bill

JP-FARM-articleLarge

Farm Bill Reflects Shifting American Menu and a Senator’s Persistent Tilling
By Jennifer Steinhauer, MARCH 8, 2014

WASHINGTON — The farm bill signed by President Obama last month was at first glance the usual boon for soybean growers, catfish farmers and their ilk. But closer examination reveals that the nation’s agriculture policy is increasingly more whole grain than white bread.

Within the bill is a significant shift in the types of farmers who are now benefiting from taxpayer dollars, reflecting a decade of changing eating habits and cultural dispositions among American consumers. Organic farmers, fruit growers and hemp producers all did well in the new bill. An emphasis on locally grown, healthful foods appeals to a broad base of their constituents, members of both major parties said.

read the full article HERE


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are you joining the beyond the farm bill conversation?

via The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.  And visit Beyond the Farm Bill.org

Screen shot 2014-02-25 at 11.29.22 AM
Register for the National Network meeting and help build food and ag policies that work.

March 24–25, 2014
The Marquette Hotel, Minneapolis
http://www.btfb.org

Next month, innovative experts and organizations will come together for a two day, collaborative meeting to build the “blueprint” for food and agriculture policies that are fair, healthy, and sustainable on all levels. Continue reading


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rural perspectives on the farm bill

corn

Farm Bill out of touch with Rural Americans

by The Center for Rural Affairs, 26 July 2013

The US House of Representatives’ farm bill is out of touch with rural America in its disregard for protecting the small town and rural way of life. If and when a conference committee meets to produce a final farm bill, it should incorporate the Senate’s rural development provisions.

Last month, I reported on our bipartisan poll of rural voters in the Southeast, Midwest, and Great Plains. Nearly 9-in-10 rural Americans say the rural and small town way of life is worth fighting for and protecting; but 7-in-10 worry it is dying. Three-fourths blame politicians for ignoring problems of rural and small town America.

They have a point. Our 2007 study found USDA invested only half as much in rural development programs to serve millions of people in the 20 rural counties suffering the worst population decline in each of 13 leading farm states, as it spent just to subsidize the 20 largest farms in each of those states. It’s not getting better. Real federal investment in helping small towns and rural entrepreneurs has fallen by half over the last decade.

The House farm bill would make it worse, jeopardizing the continued existence of USDA’s primary rural small business development program – the Rural Microenterprise Development Program. It would receive zero funding, resulting in less financing and business planning assistance for rural small businesses. The House would provide zero funding for the small towns on a long waiting list for USDA loans and grants to make critical upgrades to their water and sewer systems.

Finish this article!

Read more: Partisan Rancor Prevents a Meaningful Farm Bill

 

 

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