Other Ag News:

Monday, March 15, 2021 - 10:00am

WASHINGTON, March 15, 2021 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today published a Federal Register Notice requesting public input on a climate-smart agriculture and forestry strategy. The Notice represents an important step toward implementing President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.

Friday, March 12, 2021 - 11:50am

As a new Congress and new Administration begin moving forward their top priorities for the coming year, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition stands ready to engage our grassroots base to push for top issues – like climate change and COVID relief – facing farmers and food system leaders across our membership and the broader sustainable agriculture community.

Earlier this year, NSAC members convened virtually ahead of our annual Winter Member Meeting to debate and finalize key coalition policy and funding priorities for 2021. Attendance was robust as Members joined remotely and, in conversations expertly facilitated by Pat Fields of the Consensus Building Institute, adopted two grassroots policy campaigns (issues on which the entire coalition agrees to engage) – Climate Change and COVID-19 Pandemic Response – and one grassroots appropriations campaign – Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education

Climate Change

This year, NSAC’s climate change campaign will focus on building our farmer base to advocate for comprehensive climate policies that build a more sustainable and resilient food and agricultural system that ensures all farmers are doing their part to mitigate climate change. A key focus of our campaign will be working with champions in Congress to introduce and gain widespread support for the Agriculture Resilience Act which provides comprehensive solutions to how farmers can help respond to the climate crisis. We will also be working closely with the new Administration to implement policies and new initiatives that centers climate change across USDA programs and actions.

COVID-19 Pandemic Response

While the light at the end of the tunnel may be near, there is no doubt that farmers, rural communities, and food system infrastructure will continue to struggle from the impacts of the prolonged COVID-19 crisis. This year, NSAC will be mobilizing our members to engage with USDA to ensure any further relief efforts (such as those recently passed by Congress), reach all farmers impacted by the pandemic – including small-scale, BIPOC, beginning, and farmers serving local, regional, and value-added markets like organic and grassfed. We will also be continuing to work with champions in Congress to push for further reforms to rebuild our food system – such as those included in the Strengthening Local Processing Act.

Sustainable Agriculture Research

NSAC’s top funding priority for this year will be securing full funding for USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. For over 30 years, SARE has served as the only farmer-driven research program with a clear and consistent focus on sustainability. Farmers and ranchers help guide SARE’s research priorities, ensuring that the program is constantly responding to the challenges that producers face in their fields every day, including climate change. This year, we will be mobilizing our members across the country to push Congress to scale up funding for SARE to $60 million for Fiscal Year 2022, with a major focus on helping farmers to address the climate crisis.

The Coalition also identified several additional annual and multi-year policy issues on which NSAC members will engage, as well as a list of other key funding priorities for fiscal year (FY) 2022. NSAC’s complete list of 2021 priorities is included below. 

2021 Policy Priorities
  • 2023 Farm Bill
  • Beginning and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers
  • Climate Change and Agriculture
  • COVID-19 Pandemic Response
  • Farm Safety Net Programs and Structural Reforms
  • FSMA and GAP Implementation
  • Food Safety Financial Assistance
  • Local and Regional Food System Programs
  • Immigration Reform and Agriculture
  • Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Forms of Production
  • Small Meat Processing Issues
  • Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Research Programs
  • Working Lands Conservation Programs
FY 2022 Appropriations Priorities
  • Conservation Technical Assistance
  • Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative
  • Farm Service Agency Loans
  • Local Agriculture Market Program
  • Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Forms of Production
  • Organic Certification Cost Share
  • Small Plant Food Safety Inspection Service Fees
  • Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education

The post Top Sustainable Ag Priorities for 2021 appeared first on National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

Friday, March 12, 2021 - 10:43am

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Wes King, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

press@sustainableagriculture.net

New Farmers’ Guide to the Value-Added Producer Grant Program Published
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition announces updates to free guide, including new COVID-19 resources

Washington, DC, March 12, 2021 – In conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recent announcement of at least $76 million in available grant support via the Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) Program, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has released a newly updated version of its Farmers’ Guide to Applying for the Value Added Producer Grant Program (The Guide). For farmers and ranchers, NSAC’s newly updated guide includes everything interested producers need to know about VAPG to determine if the program is a good fit for their operation, including program changes made due to the COVID-19 pandemic and helpful tips to improve a producer’s chances of obtaining funding from this highly competitive program.

The Guide provides clear information on the program’s application requirements, including a step-by-step description of the application and ranking processes, and is available for free on the NSAC website: https://sustainableagriculture.net/publications/.

In addition, on March 16, 2021 at 2:00 PM Eastern, USDA will host a webinar for prospective applicants. The webinar can be joined at this link: http://bit.ly/vapgwebinar21

“For farmers and ranchers interested in taking their operation to the next level with value-added products or marketing, VAPG is an excellent resource,” said Wes King, Senior Policy Specialist at NSAC. “However, the application process can be complicated, and there are key program changes this year to reflect the COVID-19 pandemic that producers should be aware of. Our Farmers Guide lays out all the program details, eligibility guidelines, and other details to aid potential applicants. When a farm operation shifts to value-added production, or grows their value-added operation, it can have immensely positive effects both on the farmer’s bottom line, as well as on their larger community.”

The deadline to submit paper applications in-person or via mail is May 4, 2021; the deadline to submit electronic applications is April 29, 2021. Electronic applications must be submitted through grants.gov. To ensure a strong and diverse applicant pool, NSAC encourages all interested farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and food entrepreneurs to apply – particularly those from historically underserved communities. In order to address historical inequities, the program reserves 10% of the funding for grants to beginning, veteran, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, including Black, Indigenous, and farmers of color (BIPOC).

VAPG funds can be used for working capital, feasibility studies, business plans, and for marketing efforts to establish viable value-added businesses. Up to $75,000 is available for planning grants and up to $250,000 is available for working-capital grants. Individual and groups of producers, as well as farmer coops and producer-controlled businesses, are eligible to apply for these grants.

NSAC helped create VAPG as part of the 2000 Agricultural Risk Protection Act. For the last twenty years, the Coalition has been one of the leading advocates for VAPG and other programs that support local food systems and rural development. In the 2018 Farm Bill, NSAC led advocacy for the creation of the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP), which moved VAPG and the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program under a single umbrella (LAMP), and provided permanent mandatory funding for each program.

The Coalition has also led appropriations advocacy to secure additional discretionary funds for VAPG. The Emergency Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020 passed in December 2020 contains both badly needed emergency COVID-19 relief aid and regular fiscal year (FY) 2021 appropriations, including approximately $47 million in additional funding for VAPG in addition to its mandatory farm bill funding.

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About the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. Learn more and get involved at: https://sustainableagriculture.net

The post RELEASE: New Farmers’ Guide to the Value-Added Producer Grant Program Published appeared first on National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

Friday, March 12, 2021 - 9:00am

Our Labor Ready project seeks to enhance the efficiency and overall success of NYS fruit and vegetable farm businesses through professional development for Ag managers, with a special emphasis on creating opportunities for growth and career development for aspiring Latinx farm employees. In a new video series, we highlight the experience of two NYS farmers as part of Labor Ready project initiatives. Specifically, the Smart Farming Teams and the Master Class for Bilingual Orchard Managers.

  • Smart Farming Teams: NYS fruit and vegetable growers collaborate with a team of agricultural consultants to address and solve existing labor-related issues on their farm.
  • Master Class for Bilingual Orchard Crew Members: a one-of-a-kind professional development experience that builds upon the knowledge that developing leadership skills among key Spanish-speaking employees is an investment in a farm business’s ultimate success.

The Smart Farming Team initiative has become one of the most impactful elements of the Labor Ready Project. Offering farm business owners the time and space necessary to address specific challenges facing their farm businesses, New York State producers worked in teams to build critical labor management, human resource, and financial management skill-sets. While the project offered an individualized approach to problem-solving, broad community impact has developed in tandem. Owing thanks to the dedicated Smart Farming Team producers and consultants alike, a budding network of skilled and successful farmers and businesses have been established in communities throughout the state.

Learn about the power of community skill-building by watching the videos described below.

In the Orchard I am Free (English)/(Spanish Version): Silvia and Sergio enrolled in a Cornell Small Farms professional development series for Spanish-speaking farm owners and managers. Upon graduating from the course, the couple sought to expand their knowledge through the Smart Farming Team program, working alongside Miguel Saviroff, bilingual Ag Consultant. In the video, Sergio’s presence and skill as a storyteller allow his determination, grit, and his optimism to shine through.

Managing Labor on Feather Bed Lane Farm: Tim Biello is the owner and operator of Feather Bed Lane Farm, a bucolic vegetable CSA that relies on horse power to till the soil. Tim possesses a keen understanding of what it means to balance the idyllic dream of owning a farm with the reality of running a business. At Feather Bed Lane – farm employees carefully grow fresh produce, while being treated fairly, and being paid a living wage. Watch Tim discuss the importance of a farmer’s most valuable asset and how he strikes the balance between books and benevolence.

Labor Ready Explained: Liz Higgins, a business management specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension, is one of the visionaries of the Labor Ready Project. She explains how she saw a need for business and managerial training in the agricultural sector and partnered with the Cornell Small Farms Program (CSFP) to create the Labor Ready Project. Nicole Waters, the CSFP’s Beginning Farmer Coordinator, explains the goals of the Labor Ready Project and its two programs: the Smart Farming Teams and the Master Class. To learn more about these programs watch two testimonials from participants: Featherbed Lane and Rosario brother’s Farms.

The Labor Ready Farmer – Spanish language: This series features four Latino farmers who have climbed the ladder from farm laborer to farm manager.  Each story highlights the individuals’ pathway to success, as well as personal advice for future Latino/Latina agricultural leaders. The goal of this video series is to introduce the NYS farming community to successful Latino farmers.

The post Labor Ready Project Shares Farmers’ Stories appeared first on Cornell Small Farms.

Thursday, March 11, 2021 - 5:40pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:
Anna Mullen
National Farm to School Network
anna@farmtoschool.org / (515) 210-2483

Wes King
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
press@sustainableagriculture.net

Farm to School Act of 2021 Would Strengthen Support For Local Food Systems And Child Nutrition Programs As Communities Rebuild From Pandemic
National Farm to School Network and National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition urge support for the Act, emphasizing farm to school’s proven impacts for children, farmers, and local economies

Washington, D.C., March 11, 2021 – Yesterday, a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders introduced the Farm to School Act of 2021 (H.R. 1768) which will support our nation’s schools, farmers and communities in building back equitably from the Covid-19 pandemic. The bill, sponsored by Representative Stacey Plaskett (D-VI), Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Representative Alma Adams (D-NC), will expand funding for and programmatic scope of the highly successful USDA Farm to School Grant Program, while also ensuring that more communities – specifically those serving racially diverse and high-need student populations, as well as engaging with beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers – have a competitive opportunity to benefit from this valuable program.

Farm to school activities – including procurement of local food for school meals, school gardens, and food and agriculture education – are proven to help students develop healthy eating habits and support family farmers by expanding market opportunities. According to the latest USDA Farm to School Census, more than 42% of schools across the country have engaged in one or more farm to school activity, collectively investing nearly $800 million annually in local communities.   

“When the pandemic began, school nutrition professionals, educators and local food producers – the people who make farm to school work – were some of the very first community members to step up and ensure the ongoing care and support of children and families. The measures included in the Farm to School Act will give them much-needed resources to continue their work as we emerge from the pandemic,” said Karen Spangler, Policy Director with National Farm to School Network. “Furthermore, the bill’s emphasis on ensuring equitable access to this important grant program will help those most impacted by the pandemic, including Native and tribal communities, racially diverse communities, and early care and education sites. There has never been a better time to build on the successes of this program.”

“Food is fundamental to our very existence, and learning about food – where it comes from, who grows it, and how it feeds our bodies and minds – should be a fundamental part of all students’ educational experience. Over the last 15 years, farm to school programs in the U.S. have helped thousands of schools to connect their students with real, healthy foods. These programs have also served as powerful economic drivers, generating hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue for family farmers each year, according to the most recent USDA Farm to School Census,” said Wes King, Senior Policy Specialist with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. “The Farm to School Act is the cornerstone of a series of proposals supported by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition that, if included in the next Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization, would help improve health outcomes for our children and economic outcomes for family farmers across the country.”

The USDA Farm to School Grant Program provides funds on a competitive basis to schools, farmers, nonprofits, and local, state and tribal government entities to help schools procure local foods for school meals and to support activities like school gardens, hands-on science lessons, and new food taste tests. The program was originally funded as part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 and includes $5 million in annual mandatory funding.

Since the program’s inception in 2013, USDA has awarded over $52 million through Farm to School Grants, funding a total of 719 projects across all 50 States, the District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and Puerto Rico, reaching almost 21 million students in 47,000 schools. In recent years, the program has benefited from temporary funding boosts through annual appropriations. The Farm to School Act of 2021 would increase annual mandatory funding to $15 million to permanently allow more of these impactful projects to be realized. The proposed legislation will also: increase the maximum grant award to $250,000; prioritize grant proposals that engage beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and serve high-need schools; fully include early care and education sites, summer food service sites and after school programs; and, increase access among Native and tribal schools to traditional foods, especially from tribal producers.

NFSN and NSAC applaud the bipartisan efforts of the bill sponsors to strengthen farm to school efforts and support local food systems and child nutrition programs during this critical time. The organizations together urge Members of Congress to show their commitment to the well-being of our nation’s kids, family farmers, and food-producing communities by fully supporting the Farm to School Act of 2021.

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About National Farm to School Network (NFSN)
National Farm to School Network is the leading voice for the U.S. farm to school and farm to early care and education movement, working as an information, advocacy and networking hub for communities to bring local food sourcing, gardens, and food and agriculture education into schools and early care and education settings. Learn more at: http://farmtoschool.org.

About the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. Learn more and get involved at: http://sustainableagriculture.net.
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Support for the Farm to School Act of 2021

Sommer Sibilly, Founder and Executive Director of the Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition. “There are many organizations like ours across the nation that need support to effectively develop and sustain farm to school programs for their communities. For the U.S. territories, access to this funding is critical. In 2015, we received a USDA Farm to School Grant to host our first Farm to School Conference in the Virgin Islands and it felt like an auspicious start. However, due to lack of resources, we have been unable to host another. While USDA has done a phenomenal job awarding existing grants, limited funding and the program structure do not ensure equity. In my experience, a community’s success with implementing farm to school is predicated on readiness and infrastructure. To date, there are many communities across the country struggling with food security and access for whom farm to school is imperative, but they do not have access to resources and capacity necessary to move efforts forward. The reality is many of those communities are communities of color. It is my hope that through the passage of legislation like the Farm to School Act of 2021, which will increase funding and change the grant language structure to foster collaboration and prioritize equity, the USDA Farm to School Program will have significant potential to move the needle toward a more equitable and just food system for all.”

Nathan Beacom, Food Policy Associate for the Center for Rural Affairs: “Farm to school is a growing area of opportunity for our state. It has advanced the health of our students, markets for farmers, and the economic strength of our communities. Farm to school programs have increased in Nebraska because nearly all folks agree it’s a benefit, Congressman Fortenberry is right to capitalize on this momentum now. We thank him for co-sponsoring this legislation and his continued support of local food programs.”

Justin Carter, coordinator of the Nebraska Food Council: “Farm to school is a growing area of opportunity for our state. It has advanced the health of our students, markets for farmers, and the economic strength of our communities. Farm to school programs have increased in Nebraska because nearly all folks agree it’s a benefit, Congressman Fortenberry is right to capitalize on this momentum now. We thank him for co-sponsoring this legislation and his continued support of local food programs.”

Morgan Wittman Gramann, Executive Director of the North Carolina Alliance for Health. “Farm to school programs are essential to ensuring that our students have access to healthy, local food. The Farm to School Act will nourish our kids and benefit local farmers. We are grateful for Congresswoman Adams’ leadership in filing this critical legislation.”

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The post RELEASE: Farm to School Act of 2021 Would Strengthen Support For Local Food Systems And Child Nutrition Programs As Communities Rebuild From Pandemic appeared first on National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

Thursday, March 11, 2021 - 2:09pm

Nearly a year since the coronavirus pandemic first swept across the country — shuttering businesses, restaurants, and schools alike — the finish line for another round of COVID relief is finally within sight. This week, Congress took steps to move forward additional COVID relief by passing the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Bouncing back and forth in the Capitol building over the past month, the ARP was first drafted and passed in the House, modified and passed in the Senate, and finally passed in the modified form by the House and now heads to the President’s desk. 

The ARP is the largest recovery and stimulus bill in history, passing Congress by the narrowest of margins. The $1.9 trillion dollar legislative package contains numerous provisions to help Americans recover from the coronavirus pandemic including resources for vaccination efforts and public health, extensions of unemployment insurance, $1,400 stimulus checks to eligible individuals, a child care tax credit, aid to state and local governments to maintain services, housing assistance, support for school reopenings, and support for flagging pension funds to pay retirees. Many of these provisions were put forward in the Biden-Harris administration’s pandemic response proposal while other elements were added during drafting and debate in Congress. 

Comprehensive reviews of ARP provisions – and the ways in which they may be implemented – are covered by experts elsewhere so in this blog we will focus on the agricultural and food system related provisions. 

Food and Agriculture Provisions

While the agriculture components are relatively small compared to the rest of the bill, amounting to $16 billion, or less than one percent of total spending authorized in the Senate bill, they are significant and will provide the newly appointed Secretary of Agriculture with additional resources to help farmers mitigate the prolonged impacts of this pandemic, especially marginalized communities most impacted. 

ARP includes funding to provide relief for BIPOC farmers, provide direct payments to farmers, purchase farm commodities for distribution to families in need, and strengthen food supply chains and processing capacity disrupted by the pandemic. While many of the specifics regarding exactly how funding will be distributed is up to the Administration, the bill includes many provisions that reflect NSAC’s top priorities and those championed by sustainable agriculture allies. These include:

  • Direct Aid for Black, Indigenous, and Farmers of Color – The largest portion of the ag-related funding in the bill will provide historic debt relief to Black, Indigenous, and farmers of color (BIPOC), as well as over $1 billion to improve land access, address heirs property issues, establish an equity commission, and create a legal center to provide legal advice and resources to BIPOC farmers. Under the debt forgiveness proposal, USDA would pay up to 120 percent of outstanding farm debt held by BIPOC farmers on farm loans made directly by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) or through private lenders (i.e. Farm Credit, ag banks) with USDA guarantees. Farmers could use the additional relief funds to pay any taxes owed as a result of the debt relief. According to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), approximately 15,000 BIPOC farmers will receive an average debt relief payment of $20,000.

    The ARP proposal is very similar to provisions proposed by the House Agriculture Committee and those championed by Senators Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Tina Smith (D-MN), who introduced similar proposals in the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act, which has garnered widespread support from agricultural stakeholders in recent weeks.

    It is important to note that the Senate bill provides USDA with tremendous flexibility in how the additional relief is rolled out. We are heartened to see Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issue a statement in support of these provisions and acknowledge the systemic racism and cycles of debt that have harmed so many BIPOC producers for so long.
  • Purchase of Agriculture Commodities and Food Assistance – The bill also provides billions in funding to purchase agricultural commodities from farmers and to support their delivery to families through non-profits, emergency feeding organizations, and restaurants. To maximize the impact of this investment, NSAC will be working with USDA to ensure they incorporate the recommendations contained in the Farmers to Families Food Box Program report recently published by NSAC and the Harvard Food Law Policy Clinic.
  • Strengthening Supply Chains – The bill also includes billions in funding to strengthen supply chains and build further resilience in response to the pandemic. This includes providing grants and loans for equipment and supplies (i.e. PPE, test kits) as well as infrastructure investments for food processors, farmers markets, food banks and producers to respond to the pandemic and protect workers in a manner similar to Senator Debbie Stabenow’s (D-MI) The Food Supply Protection Act, or Food and Farm Emergency Assistance Act, introduced by Rep. Kim Schrier (D-WA-8). 
  • Supporting Small Processors – The bill provides $100 million in financial assistance and reduces USDA overtime inspection fees that will help ensure livestock and poultry processing capacity for small meat plants that have been at maximum capacity during the pandemic. NSAC thanks Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Representatives Angie Craig (D-MN-2) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD-AL) for leading efforts to address costly USDA fees in their Small Packer Overtime and Holiday Fee Relief COVID-19 Act.
  • Food Assistance Benefits – The Senate bill extends the 15 percent increase in the maximum SNAP benefit included in the December COVID response package from June 30, 2021 to September 30, 2021, as well as extending the Pandemic EBT program throughout the duration of the pandemic.
  • Online SNAP Expansion – The bill provides $25 million to USDA to support the expansion of online SNAP through investments in technology modernization and increased technical assistance. This is similar to the Expanding SNAP Options Act that was introduced by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Rep Robin Kelly (D-IL-2) last year. 
How Did We Get Here?

In order to pass this relief package with such thin margins, the slim Democratic majority in both chambers of Congress used a legislative tool known as “budget reconciliation” to streamline and expedite passage of additional COVID relief. This process essentially allows the Senate to bypass the filibuster and pass spending-related bills with only a simple majority, rather than the 60 vote threshold required for most Senate bills. 

As part of Congress’s annual budget process, each chamber typically passes a budget resolution, which may contain reconciliation instructions to authorize additional, or cut existing, spending. The long overdue budget resolution for Fiscal Year 2021, which was released earlier this year, included reconciliation instructions for both the House and Senate aimed at providing additional pandemic relief, as outlined in the Biden-Harris administration’s $1.9 trillion response plan. This resolution set the parameters for the relief package that made its way through the House, then the Senate, and will soon be signed into law. 

Next Up: Infrastructure!

We anticipate that Congress will use the FY 2022 budget reconciliation bill as an opportunity to authorize additional funding for infrastructure-related projects over the coming months. However, it will take Congress some time to work through new political confirmations, annual appropriations, and the introduction of marker bills so it is unlikely that a bill will be taken up before the Summer. While it is uncertain the extent to which food and agriculture priorities might be included in an infrastructure package, NSAC and our allies will be pushing to ensure climate and small meat processing infrastructure are on the table during budget debates on Capitol Hill.

The post Congress Clears Another Round of Pandemic Aid with Historic Support for BIPOC Farmers appeared first on National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021 - 4:00pm

WASHINGTON, Mar. 10, 2021 — In January 2021, President Biden released the National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness. The plan is driven by science, data, and public health to improve the effectiveness of our nation’s fight against COVID-19 and to restore trust, accountability and a sense of common purpose in our response to the pandemic.

The National Strategy provides a roadmap to guide America out of the worst public health crisis in a century. It is organized around seven goals:

Wednesday, March 10, 2021 - 3:00pm

WASHINGTON, March 10, 2021 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement today on passage of the American Rescue Plan Act by the U.S. Congress. The bill now goes to President Biden for his signature. For a detailed review, see the USDA fact sheet.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021 - 2:50pm

WASHINGTON, Mar. 10, 2021 – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1319, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The legislation is a critical step in getting the U.S. economy back on track, getting children back to school, getting COVID-19 vaccinations to all Americans, and pulling millions out of poverty. Specifically, provisions within the jurisdiction of the U.S.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021 - 1:00pm

WASHINGTON, March 9, 2021 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the nationwide extension of several waivers that allow all children to continue to receive nutritious meals this summer when schools are out of session. These flexibilities are now available through Sept. 30, 2021.

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