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  1. USDA Expands Grasslands Conservation Program to Small-Scale Livestock Producers

    Fri Jan 13, 2017 at 03:55 PM

    WASHINGTON, Jan.13, 2017 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini today announced that USDA will accept over 300,000 acres in 43 states that were offered by producers during the recent ranking period for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grasslands enrollment with emphasis placed on small-scale livestock operations. Through the voluntary CRP Grasslands program, grasslands threatened by development or conversion to row crops are maintained as livestock grazing areas, while providing important conservation benefits. Approximately 200,000 of the accepted acres were offered by small-scale livestock operations.

  2. USDA’s Farm Service Agency Expands Bridges to Opportunity Nationwide

    Wed Jan 11, 2017 at 02:30 PM

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2017 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) today announced the expansion of a unique service for farmers and ranchers. FSA’s Bridges to Opportunity program provides a one-stop-shop that connects producers with resources, programs and educational services offered across the department, as well as from other USDA partner organizations. Bridges to Opportunity, which currently provides enhanced customer support to more than 150,000 customers in 20 states, will expand to serve customers across the country before the end of the month using fiscal year 2016 funds.

  3. USDA Makes it Easier to Transfer Land to the Next Generation of Farmers and Ranchers

    Fri Dec 30, 2016 at 10:54 AM

    DES MOINES, Iowa, Dec. 29, 2016 – Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary Lanon Baccam today announced that beginning Jan. 9, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will offer an early termination opportunity for certain Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts, making it easier to transfer property to the next generation of farmers and ranchers, including family members. The land that is eligible for the early termination is among the least environmentally sensitive land enrolled in CRP.

  4. USDA Announces New Conservation Opportunities to Improve Water Quality and Restore Wildlife Habitat

    Wed Dec 7, 2016 at 03:51 PM

    DES MOINES, Iowa, Dec. 7, 2016 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will offer farmers and ranchers more opportunities to participate in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The announcement includes new CRP practices to protect water quality and adds an additional 1.1 million acres targeted to benefit wildlife, pollinators and wetlands.

  5. USDA Partners with Farmers and Ranchers to Protect More Than 500,000 Acres of Working Grasslands

    Fri Dec 2, 2016 at 12:16 PM

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2016 – Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Deputy Under Secretary Alexis Taylor today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will accept more than 504,000 acres that were offered by producers during the recent ranking period for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grasslands enrollment. Through the voluntary CRP Grasslands program, grasslands threatened by development or conversion to row crops are maintained as livestock grazing areas, while providing important conservation benefits.

  6. Farm Service Agency Extends Voting Deadline for County Committee Elections

    Fri Dec 2, 2016 at 12:02 PM

    (Lexington, KY) Nov. 29, 2016 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Kentucky Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director, John W. McCauley, today announced that the deadline to submit ballots for the 2016 County Committee Elections has been extended to ensure farmers and ranchers have sufficient time to vote. Eligible voters now have until Dec. 13, 2016 to return ballots to their local FSA offices. Producers who have not received their ballot should pick one up at their local FSA office.

  7. USDA Expands Working-Lands Conservation Opportunities through CRP

    Fri Nov 4, 2016 at 02:24 PM

    HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 4, 2016 – Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Deputy Under Secretary Alexis Taylor today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will offer a new Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grasslands practice specifically tailored for small-scale livestock grazing operations. Small livestock operations with 100 or fewer head of grazing dairy cows (or the equivalent) can submit applications to enroll up to 200 acres of grasslands per farm. USDA’s goal is to enroll up to 200,000 acres.

  8. FSA County Committee Elections to Begin; Producers to Receive Ballots Week of Nov. 7

    Thu Nov 3, 2016 at 01:41 PM

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 3, 2016 – Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin mailing ballots to eligible farmers and ranchers across the country for the 2016 FSA County Committee elections on Monday, Nov. 7, 2016. Producers must return ballots to their local FSA offices by Dec. 5, 2016, to ensure that their vote is counted.

  9. USDA Invests $1.7 Billion to Protect Sensitive Agricultural Lands through Conservation Reserve Program

    Mon Oct 31, 2016 at 03:03 PM

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will issue nearly $1.7 billion in payments to more than half of a million Americans who have contracts with the government to protect sensitive agricultural lands. The investment, part of the voluntary USDA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), will allow producers to protect almost 24 million acres of wetlands, grasslands and wildlife habitat in 2016.

  10. USDA Announces Enrollment Period for Safety Net Coverage in 2017

    Mon Oct 31, 2016 at 03:03 PM

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2016 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini today announced that producers on farms with base acres under the safety net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill, known as the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, can begin visiting FSA county offices starting Nov. 1, 2016, to sign contracts and enroll for the 2017 crop year. The enrollment period will continue until Aug. 1, 2017.

  11. USDA Announces Streamlined Guaranteed Loans and Additional Lender Category for Small-Scale Operators

    Thu Oct 20, 2016 at 03:55 PM

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 20, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the availability of a streamlined version of USDA guaranteed loans, which are tailored for smaller scale farms and urban producers. The program, called EZ Guarantee Loans, uses a simplified application process to help beginning, small, underserved and family farmers and ranchers apply for loans of up to $100,000 from USDA-approved lenders to purchase farmland or finance agricultural operations. 

  12. USDA Issues Safety-Net Payments to Kentucky Farmers in Response to 2015 Market Downturn

    Thu Oct 20, 2016 at 03:45 PM

    Lexington, Kentucky, October 11, 2016 – USDA Kentucky Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director, John W. McCauley announced that approximately 72,532 Kentucky farms that enrolled in safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill will receive financial assistance for the 2015 crop year. The programs, known as Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), are designed to protect against unexpected drops in crop prices or revenues due to market downturns.

  13. USDA Issues Safety-Net Payments to Farmers in Response to 2015 Market Downturn

    Wed Oct 5, 2016 at 03:00 PM

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 4, 2016 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that beginning today, many of the 1.7 million farms that enrolled in either the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs will receive safety-net payments due to market downturns during the 2015 crop year.

  14. USDA Announces Availability of Additional Farm Loan Funding

    Fri Sep 2, 2016 at 11:41 AM

    WASHINGTON, Sept. 2, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini today announced that additional funding will be made available to assist more than 1,900 approved applicants who are awaiting farm operating loans. The funds, which were reprogrammed by FSA with the approval of Congress, will leverage up to $185 million in additional lending for direct and guaranteed farm operation loans and will allow the agency to address up to 30 percent of its projected shortfall of funds until the next federal fiscal year resumes on Oct. 1.

  15. USDA to Purchase Surplus Cheese for Food Banks and Families in Need, Continue to Assist Dairy Producers

    Thu Aug 25, 2016 at 02:00 PM

    WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced plans to purchase approximately 11 million pounds of cheese from private inventories to assist food banks and pantries across the nation, while reducing a cheese surplus that is at its highest level in 30 years. The purchase, valued at $20 million, will be provided to families in need across the country through USDA nutrition assistance programs, while assisting the stalled marketplace for dairy producers whose revenues have dropped 35 percent over the past two years.

  16. Calloway, Christian and Trigg Counties in Kentucky Qualify for Natural Disaster Assistance

    Fri Aug 19, 2016 at 02:00 PM

    WASHINGTON, Aug. 17, 2016 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Stewart County in Tennessee as a primary natural disaster area due to losses caused by flooding, high winds and lightning that occurred from July 3, 2016, through July 6, 2016.

  17. USDA Announces Safety Net Assistance for Milk Producers Due to Tightening Dairy Margins

    Thu Aug 4, 2016 at 02:00 PM

    May/June 2016 Average Margins Below $6 

    WASHINGTON, Aug. 4, 2016 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced approximately $11.2 million in financial assistance to American dairy producers enrolled in the 2016 Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy). The payment rate for May/June 2016 will be the largest since the program began in 2014. The narrowing margin between milk prices and the cost of feed triggered the payments, as provided for by the 2014 Farm Bill.

  18. Deadline Approaching to Submit Nominations for KY FSA County Committees

    Mon Jul 25, 2016 at 12:00 AM

    (LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY,) July 25, 2016 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Kentucky Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director, John W. McCauley, today reminded farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers that they have until Aug. 1, 2016, to nominate eligible candidates to serve on local FSA county committees.

  19. USDA Reminds Kentucky Producers of Aug. 1 Deadline to Enroll in Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs

    Thu Jul 21, 2016 at 02:00 PM

    LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY), July 21, 2016 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Kentucky Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director, John W. McCauley reminds farmers and ranchers that they have until Aug. 1 to enroll in Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and/or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2016 crop year.

  20. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Proclaims August 7 Through 13 National Farmers Market Week

    Wed Jul 13, 2016 at 02:00 PM

    WASHINGTON, July 11, 2016 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today signed a proclamation declaring Aug. 7-13, 2016, as "National Farmers Market Week." This year marks the 17th annual National Farmers Market Week to honor and celebrate the important role that farmers markets play in local economies.

  21. Dairy Producers Can Enroll Today to Protect Milk Production Margins

    Fri Jul 1, 2016 at 02:00 PM

    (Lexington, KY), July 1, 2016 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Kentucky today announced that dairy producers can enroll for 2017 coverage in the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) starting July 1. The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to participating dairy producers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below the coverage level selected by the producer. 

  22. During National Pollinator Week, USDA Announces Key Measures to Improve Pollinator Health

    Fri Jun 24, 2016 at 02:00 PM

    WASHINGTON, June 23, 2016 – Today, during National Pollinator Week and in advance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) seventh annual Pollinator Week Festival, the USDA is announcing two initiatives in support of the President’s National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honeybees and Other Pollinators, announced just over one year ago. A review of USDA’s most popular conservation program found that farmers and ranchers across the country are creating at least 15 million acres of healthy forage and habitat for pollinators, and the department has also entered into a new partnership with leading honey bee organizations that will help to ensure future conservation projects continue to provide benefits to these important species.

  23. Farm Service Agency County Committee Nomination Period Begins June 15

    Wed Jun 15, 2016 at 02:00 PM

    WASHINGTON, June 15, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that the nomination period for farmers and ranchers to serve on local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees begins today, June 15, 2016.

  24. USDA Provides Targeted Assistance to Cotton Producers to Share in the Cost of Ginning

    Mon Jun 6, 2016 at 01:00 PM

    WASHINGTON, June 6, 2016 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) will provide an estimated $300 million in cost-share assistance payments to cotton producers through the new Cotton Ginning Cost-Share program, in order to expand and maintain the domestic marketing of cotton.

  25. USDA Unveils New Improvement to Streamline Crop Reporting

    Tue May 31, 2016 at 01:00 PM

    WASHINGTON, May 31, 2016 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that farmers and ranchers filing crop acreage reports with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and participating insurance providers approved by the Risk Management Agency (RMA) now can provide the common information from their acreage reports at one office and the information will be electronically shared with the other location.

  26. USDA Extends Deadline for Recording Farm Structure

    Fri May 27, 2016 at 01:00 PM

    WASHINGTON, May 27, 2016 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a one-time, 30-day extension to the June 1 deadline for recording farm organization structures related to Actively Engaged in Farming determinations. This date is used to determine the level of interest an individual holds in a legal entity for the applicable program year. Farming operations will now have until July 1 to complete their restructuring or finalize any operational change. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued the extension in response to farmers and ranchers who requested more time to comply, and to assure that everyone has enough time to provide their information under the new rules.

  27. USDA Offers Targeted Farm Loan Funding for Underserved Groups and Beginning Farmers

    Mon May 23, 2016 at 01:00 PM

    LEXINGTON, KY – May 23, 2016-- USDA Kentucky Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director, John W. McCauley, reminds producers that FSA offers targeted farm ownership and farm operating loans to assist underserved applicants as well as beginning farmers and ranchers.

  28. USDA Announces Conservation Reserve Program Results

    Thu May 5, 2016 at 01:00 PM

    WASHINGTON, May 5, 2016 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the enrollment of more than 800,000 acres in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Through CRP, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) helps farmers offset the costs of restoring, enhancing and protecting certain grasses, shrubs and trees that improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and strengthen wildlife habitat. Farmers’ and ranchers’ participation in CRP continues to provide numerous benefits to our nation, including helping reduce emissions of harmful greenhouse gases and providing resiliency to future weather changes.

  29. USDA Offers New Loans for Portable Farm Storage and Handling Equipment

    Fri Apr 29, 2016 at 01:00 PM

    COLUMBUS, Ohio, April 29, 2016 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide a new financing option to help farmers purchase portable storage and handling equipment. Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini and Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Administrator Elanor Starmer announced changes to the Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) program today during a local and regional food roundtable in Columbus, Ohio. The loans, which now include a smaller microloan option with lower down payments, are designed to help producers, including new, small and mid-sized producers, grow their businesses and markets.

  30. USDA Establishes New Partnerships to Link Underserved Farmers to FSA Programs

    Wed Apr 27, 2016 at 01:00 PM

    WASHINGTON, April 27, 2016 – The U.S. Department Agriculture (USDA) today announced cooperative agreements with 55 partners to educate farmers and other producers that have been underserved by USDA programs historically about Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs that provide financial, disaster or technical support. Nearly $2.5 million will go to nonprofits, associations, universities, and foundations that will provide training and information on agricultural best practices, local networking opportunities, and more.

  31. USDA Expands Safety-Net for Dairy Operations Adding Next-Generation Family Members

    Tue Apr 12, 2016 at 01:00 PM

    WASHINGTON, April 12, 2016 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that dairy farms participating in the Margin Protection Program (MPP) can now update their production history when an eligible family member joins the operation. The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, protects participating dairy producers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below levels of protection selected by the applicant.

  32. USDA Financial Assistance Available to Help Organic Farmers Create Conservation Buffers

    Fri Feb 26, 2016 at 01:00 PM

    LA CROSSE, Wis., Feb. 26, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its intent to assist organic farmers with the cost of establishing up to 20,000 acres of new conservation buffers and other practices on and near farms that produce organic crops. USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs, Brad Pfaff, issued the announcement today at the Midwest Organics and Sustainable Education Service conference in La Crosse, Wis.

  33. USDA Sees Strong Demand for Conservation Reserve Program

    Thu Feb 11, 2016 at 01:00 PM

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is reminding farmers and ranchers that the competitive sign-up deadline for its most popular voluntary conservation program, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), is Feb. 26, 2016. This will be one of the most competitive general sign-up periods in history, in part due a statutory limit on the number of acres that can be enrolled in the program. The most competitive applications will be those that combine multiple conservation benefits, such as water quality and wildlife habitat.

  34. USDA To Offer Certificates for Farm Commodities Pledged to Marketing Loans

    Wed Feb 3, 2016 at 01:00 PM

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that producers who have crops pledged as collateral for a marketing assistance loan can now purchase a commodity certificate that may be exchanged for the outstanding loan collateral. The authority is provided by the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act, legislation enacted by Congress in December. Commodity certificates are available beginning with the 2015 crop in situations where the applicable marketing assistance loan rate exceeds the exchange rate. Currently, the only eligible commodity is cotton.

  35. USDA Expands Microloans to Help Farmers Purchase Farmland and Improve Property

    Tue Jan 19, 2016 at 01:00 PM

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2016 — Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin offering farm ownership microloans, creating a new financing avenue for farmers to buy and improve property. These microloans will be especially helpful to beginning or underserved farmers, U.S. veterans looking for a career in farming, and those who have small and mid-sized farming operations.

  36. USDA Shares 2015 Results: Building a Stronger Rural America through Partnership, Progress and Promise

    Tue Dec 22, 2015 at 01:00 PM

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 2015 – This year, millions of rural businesses and families were positively impacted by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) investments in their communities. Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released a list of USDA’s top achievements in 2015, demonstrating USDA’s efforts to help farmers and ranchers bring their products to tables domestically and abroad, build critical infrastructure in America’s rural areas, conserve our nation’s natural resources through long-lasting partnerships, and continuously work toward improving the lives of all Americans.

  37. USDA Announces Enrollment Period for Safety Net Coverage in 2016

    Fri Dec 4, 2015 at 01:00 PM

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2015 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini today announced that producers who chose coverage from the safety net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill, known as the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, can begin visiting FSA county offices starting Dec. 7, 2015, to sign contracts to enroll in coverage for 2016. The enrollment period will continue until Aug. 1, 2016.

  38. USDA Begins 49th Enrollment Period for the Conservation Reserve Program

    Tue Dec 1, 2015 at 01:00 PM

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today reminded farmers and ranchers that the next general enrollment period for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) begins today, Dec. 1, 2015, and ends on Feb. 26, 2016. December 2015 also marks the 30th anniversary of CRP, a federally funded program that assists agricultural producers with the cost of restoring, enhancing and protecting certain grasses, shrubs and trees to improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and reduce loss of wildlife habitat.

  39. USDA Issues Safety-Net Payments to Kentucky Farmers Facing Market Downturn

    Fri Nov 13, 2015 at 01:00 PM

    (LEXINGTON, KY), November 12, 2015 – USDA Kentucky Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director, John W. McCauley announced that approximately 35,195 Kentucky farms who enrolled in the new safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill will soon begin receiving financial assistance for the 2014 crop year. The programs, known as Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), are designed to protect against unexpected drops in crop prices or revenues due to market downturns.

  40. USDA Reminds Dairy Producers of Nov. 20 Deadline

    Thu Nov 12, 2015 at 01:00 PM

    WASHINGTON, Nov, 9, 2015 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini today announced that almost half of all dairy farms in America have made their annual elections for 2016 coverage under the Margin Protection Program, and reminded producers who have not yet enrolled that they have until Nov. 20, to select coverage.

  41. FSA County Committee Elections to Begin; Producers to Receive Ballots Week of Nov. 9

    Thu Nov 5, 2015 at 01:00 PM

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 5, 2015 – Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin mailing ballots to eligible farmers and ranchers across the country for the 2015 FSA County Committee elections on Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. Producers must return ballots to their local FSA offices by Dec. 7, 2015, to ensure that their vote is counted.

  42. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden Announces New USDA Commitments to Help Build Up Next Generation of Farmers and Ranchers

    Tue Nov 3, 2015 at 01:00 PM

    LOUISVILLE, October 29, 2015—Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden today announced a commitment by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to prioritize $5.6 billion over the next two years within USDA programs and services that serve new and beginning farmers and ranchers. Deputy Secretary Harden also announced a new, tailored web tool designed to connect burgeoning farm entrepreneurs with programs and resources available to help them get started.

  43. USDA Issues Safety-Net Payments to Farmers Facing Market Downturn

    Tue Oct 27, 2015 at 01:00 PM

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2015 — The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that beginning today, nearly one half of the 1.7 million farms that signed up for either the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs will receive safety-net payments for the 2014 crop year.