After a year of fierce debate, House and Senate agricultural leaders released a finalized Farm Bill, known as The Agricultural Act of 2014 last week. The bill has been making its way through congress and President Obama is expected to sign it into law on Wednesday.
“Today’s bipartisan agreement puts us on the verge of enacting a five-year Farm Bill that saves taxpayers billions, eliminates unnecessary subsidies, creates a more effective farm safety-net and helps farmers and businesses create jobs,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D.) of Michigan, Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee said in a release on Jan. 27.
Seedstock “Grow Riverside” Conference to Provide Template for Cities Developing Urban Sustainable AgricultureDecember 11, 2013 | seedstock
If you are an elected official, county supervisor, council member, city manager, planning director, community development director or finance director looking to bring the budding concept of local sustainable agriculture to your community, “Grow Riverside: Citrus and Beyond!” is the conference to attend!
The event, to be held at the Riverside Convention Center on Wednesday and Thursday, March 19-20, 2014, will feature keynote speakers Dr. Glenda Humiston, California director for U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, and Val Dolcini, California executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.
How can cities leverage unused agricultural land to increase the supply of locally available and create new jobs and farmers? What small scale urban agriculture solutions are bearing fruit? Is it possible to create an economically viable farming business on one or two acres of land? How can the USDA help? What are innovators in the sustainable urban agriculture space doing? What policy needs to be put into place to facilitate an active agricultural economy in a city and on its fringes?
These and other questions will be the focus of Seedstock’s upcoming Grow Riverside: Citrus and Beyond! conference, which is set to take place on March 19 – 20 at the Riverside Convention Center in Riverside, CA. The event will feature urban agriculture innovators, key policy makers, nutrition experts, and investors, who will partake in a two-day, outcomes-based conference to examine solutions to help cities, Riverside in this particular case, to galvanize their citizens, growers, advocates, government officials and other major stakeholders around the economic opportunities that can result from employing sustainable urban agriculture.
The following is excerpted from a speech given by Val Dolcini, State Executive Director, USDA Farm Service Agency on Oct. 24 at the 46th annual Farm-City Harvest Awards Luncheon sponsored by the Woodland Chamber of Commerce.
I frequently tell people that I’ve got the best job in California. Most days, my “office” is one of the many thousands of farms in our great state and as often as my schedule will allow, I’m on the road, traveling the blue highways and back roads of California working with my USDA colleagues in 30 county offices from Mount Shasta in Siskiyou County to Mount Signal on the U.S.-Mexico border.
I’ve learned a lot from my travels about what it takes to farm in California in the 21st century and about the many different kinds of farming operations that represent the diversity of the Golden State.
WASHINGTON, June 12, 2013 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is seeking applications from cooperatives to provide technical assistance to small, socially disadvantaged agricultural producers in rural areas. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today’s announcement is one part of the Department’s efforts to strengthen the rural economy.
“These grants will jump start small business hiring and help producers in areas facing economic challenges get the tools they need to succeed,” Vilsack said. “Small businesses are the engines of job growth and innovation in America.”
Regional Climate Hubs, New Research Tools, Uniform Policy Guidelines Will Help Producers Mitigate Threats, Adapt for the Future
WASHINGTON, June 5, 2013-Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today said that the Federal government must increase collaboration with producers, researchers and industry to develop the next generation of solutions that will help agriculture mitigate and adapt to modern climate challenges.
“Our farmers, ranchers and forest landowners are the most innovative on earth, and they’re up to the task of meeting environmental challenges that lay ahead,” Vilsack said. “We know what we’re seeing on the ground – more intense weather events, and a greater number of them. USDA will be there to support the efforts of our farmers and ranchers to adapt to these new challenges, just as we have been for decades.”
News Release – WASHINGTON, April 4, 2013 – Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the award of $5.3 million in Conservation Innovation Grants to develop approaches and technology that will help producers adapt to extreme climate changes that cause drought. These grants will fund projects benefiting several states that were significantly impacted by last year’s drought. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today’s announcement is one part of the department’s efforts to strengthen the rural economy.
News Release – NEW ORLEANS, La., February 26, 2013 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced the release of a report which provides a comprehensive look at the economic role, challenges and opportunities for food hubs in the nation’s growing local food movement. The announcement was made during a visit to Hollygrove Market and Farm, a produce market, local distributor and farm in downtown New Orleans. In operation since 2009, Hollygrove Farm and Market sources from twenty local growers across southern Louisiana and Mississippi. Hollygrove’s mission includes increasing access to fresh produce for underserved New Orleans neighborhoods. The organization first began operations as part of the city’s post-Hurricane Katrina rebuilding efforts.