Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack 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.
Programs to Protect Public Safety, Improve Critical Infrastructure in 19 States
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing up to $103 million in post-disaster recovery and the rehabilitation of aging dams in 19 States.
"The Emergency Watershed Protection program is vital to communities repairing damage and making improvements to reduce future damage from natural disasters," Vilsack said. "Since 2009, USDA has invested more than $647 million to help local governments restore watersheds and protect communities from the aftermath of devastating natural disasters like Hurricanes Irene and Sandy and fires and flooding in the Southwestern United States."
"Food LINC" to Boost Farm Sales, Grow Local Foods Sector in Ten Selected Regions
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials joined 15 national and regional philanthropic partners to announce a new initiative to bolster the supply chain for local food systems around ten key U.S. cities. The project, dubbed 'Food LINC', will connect demand for local food in ten urban areas with supply from farmers and ranchers, strengthening each region's local food business sector and also increasing consumer access to healthy, local food. The announcement was made at the Wallace Center's National Food Hub Conference in Atlanta.
Eleven Universities Receive Grants to Research Food Safety, Plant and Animal Health, Other Uses for Nanotechnology Solutions
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced an investment of more than $5.2 million to support nanotechnology research at 11 universities. The universities will research ways nanotechnology can be used to improve food safety, enhance renewable fuels, increase crop yields, manage agricultural pests, and more. The awards were made through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the nation's premier competitive, peer-reviewed grants program for fundamental and applied agricultural sciences.
The Energy Department announced $23 million in funding for 23 new projects led by small businesses to further develop clean energy technologies with a strong potential for commercialization and job creation. These Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) awards for $1 million each over the next two years will help small businesses advance their promising concepts that improve manufacturing processes, boost the efficiency of buildings, increase transportation sustainability, and generate electricity from renewable sources.
A federal court struck down Obama administration regulations aimed at restricting hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas on federal lands. The U.S. District Court judge, Scott Skavdahl, ruled Congress never granted the U.S. Bureau of Land Management authority to regulate fracking on federal lands.