Action Alert: Senate Votes Today on Farm Bill

Heads up from New England Farmers Union! The Senate will begin voting today on a list of amendments to the farm bill. There are some very good things in this bill for New England and at least two amendments that would make it even better. Please call your Senators TODAY and ask them to support [...]

Farm and Food Bill on the Senate Floor

The Senate began consideration of a farm and food bill yesterday. The biggest issues on the threshing floor of the Senate is separating wheat from chaff between Northern and Southern farmers over safety net programs and the question of costs for the federal food stamp program, which makes up about 80 percent of the $100 [...]

Just In: USDA Farm to School grant applications available

USDA request for applications (RFA) are now available for the new Farm to School grant program. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 is in its first funding cycle for grants planning or implementing new or expanded Farm to School programs. USDA expects to award up to $3.5 million to support access to local foods [...]

Shutdown: What about the USDA?

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson I checked with the USDA today to see what programs and services will continue to operate if a budget compromise isn’t achieved by Friday night. The agency official I spoke with, who asked that I identify him that way, told me plans are not final, but that “in the event of [...]

Vilsack: For Farmers, 2010 Was a Very Good Year

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was on NPR’s Weekend Edition recently, talking about how agriculture fared in 2010 and what’s on his mind as work begins on the 2012 Farm Bill. Speaking with host Liane Hansen, Vilsack said 2010 saw a 34% increase in net farm income, thanks largely to exports of [...]

USDA Awards Specialty Products Block Grants

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson  The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has announced $55 million in Specialty Crops Block Grants to support 827 projects in the specialty crop industry – people who produce fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops, including flowers. Block grants go to states to fund projects proposed by local entities [...]

Fresh Produce for Food Stamps: Good News/Bad News

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson Good news first: A federal program intended to boost sales of fresh fruits and vegetables will target low-income families in Hampden County, Massachusetts, in the state’s southwestern corner. Several thousand of the region’s 50,000 food stamp recipients will get a 30% discount off the price of fresh produce that they buy [...]

USDA Posts New Antitrust Rule on Meat Industry

Reproduced in full from http://www.lavidalocavore.org Awesome New USDA Antitrust Rule on Meat Industry by: Jill Richardson Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 21:01:35 PM PDT The USDA has come out with a new proposed rule and – based on the reaction it has gotten thus far – it’s a big fucking deal. In a good way. [...]

Feedlots, MRSA, and H.R. 1549

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson So far this year, three friends have come down with a serious bacterial infection known as MRSA. The acronym stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It describes forms of the staph bacterium that have evolved to be immune to antibiotics of the penicillin family, which used to be the first line of [...]

Twenty-four Gold Stars

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH09), the longest-serving woman in Congress, has filed a bill meant to increase the supply of fresh produce in America’s cities. H.R. 4971, the Greening Food Deserts Act, was filed March 25 with 23 co-sponsors. It’s now on the docket of both the Education and Labor and Agriculture [...]