One Week Remains to Submit County Committee Nomination Forms

Only one week remains for farmers and ranchers to select themselves or others as candidates to sit on local FSA county committees and help make important agricultural decisions. Nominations must be submitted by next Friday, Aug. 1. Members of the committee deliver FSA farm programs at the local level and make decisions needed to administer the programs in their counties. Those who would like to submit a nomination may download forms online (in English or Spanish) or visit their local FSA county office. Learn more and listen to county committee members urging producers to run for office.

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$10 Billion Private Investment to Fund Jobs, Projects in Rural America

The White House Rural Council announced the creation of the new U.S. Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund that allows private entities to invest in job-creating rural infrastructure projects across the country. An initial $10 billion has been committed to the fund with greater investment expected to follow. Target investments will include hospitals, schools and other educational facilities, rural water and wastewater systems, energy projects, broadband expansion, local and regional food systems, and other rural infrastructure. The creation of the new fund was announced during the first-ever White House Rural Opportunity Investment Conference in Washington, D.C. The conference brought together business and financial community leaders, Administration and other government officials, rural development experts, and others to promote investment opportunities in America’s rural communities. Read more.

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USDA Selects 36 Energy Facilities to Accept Biomass Deliveries

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has selected 36 energy facilities in 14 states to accept biomass deliveries supported by the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). Farmers, ranchers or foresters who harvest and deliver forest or agricultural residues to a BCAP-qualified energy facility may be eligible for financial assistance for deliveries. The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), which administers BCAP, will begin accepting applications from biomass owners from July 28 through Aug. 25. Learn more.

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Producers Reminded to File Forms for Crop Insurance Premium Support

Farmers are reminded that they must have a Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Certification (AD-1026) on file at their local Farm Service Agency office in order to receive support on their premium payments for federal crop insurance. Producers who have not filed an AD-1026 form must do so by June 1, 2015. When a farmer completes the AD-1026, FSA and NRCS staff will outline any additional actions that may be required for compliance with the provisions. The Risk Management Agency, through the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC), manages the federal crop insurance program that provides the modern farm safety net for American farmers and ranchers. Learn more.

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Assistance Available to Producers for Fruit Losses

Producers who did not have access to crop insurance yet suffered losses to bush or tree fruit crops due to frost or freeze during the 2012 crop year may be eligible for assistance. The Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program provides supplemental payment to producers who were affected by weather damage or other adverse natural occurrences. Enrollment in the program opened July 22 and continues through Sept. 22. Producer must contact their local FSA county office to find if they are eligible to apply. Learn more or locate your FSA county office.

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Researchers Use Corn Grit Instead of Herbicides to Blast Weeds

Agricultural researchers have found a new way to blast weeds without using pesticides. The Propelled Abrasive Grit Management (PAGMan) system — designed by USDA Agronomist Frank Forcella along with university researchers — is a tractor-mounted system that uses compressed air to blast particles of grit that shred weeds. The grit is made up of dried corn cobs. Further trials may confirm the system’s potential to help organic growers manage within-row infestations of weeds that have sprouted around the bases of corn, soybeans and other row crops. Learn more.

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National Farmers Market Week is Aug. 3-9

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has declared Aug. 3-9 as National Farmers Market Week. Throughout the week, USDA will celebrate the thousands of farmers markets across the nation, honor the farmers that make them possible and celebrate the communities that host them. The week recognizes the important role that farmers markets play in the agricultural and food economy. USDA officials will be at farmers market locations across the country throughout the week. Learn more.

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Two Week Remain to Submit County Committee Nomination Forms

Only two weeks are left for farmers and ranchers to select themselves or others as candidates to sit on local FSA county committees and help make important agricultural decisions. Nominations must be submitted by Aug. 1. Members of the committee deliver FSA farm programs at the local level and make decisions needed to administer the programs in their counties. Those who would like to submit a nomination may download forms online (in English or Spanish) or visit their local FSA county office. Learn more.

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Funding Available for Organic Producers to Get Certified

With demand for organic products surging, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $13 million in funding to famers and rancher for organic certification cost-share assistance. This will help make organic certification more accessible for small producers. “We need to make sure that small farmers who choose to grow organic products can afford to get certified,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Certification assistance is available to all 50 states through the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. Learn more

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The Spirit of Rural America: Farmers Show Strength in Tough Times

By Michael Scuse, Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services

For the past few weeks we’ve shared stories of how the farmers and ranchers across the country have been helped by disaster assistance programs restored by the 2014 Farm Bill. These USDA programs are helping thousands of producers and their families recover from natural disasters.

These amazing stories of strength and courage show the resilience of the men and women who feed and clothe more than 313 million Americans and billions of people worldwide. Despite uncontrollable setbacks caused by drought, snowstorms, tornadoes and other natural disasters, American farmers, ranchers and their children persevered beyond measure. I’m honored to be part of an agency that works for and with such amazing people. Continue reading

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