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New Data Reflects the Continued Demand for Farmers Markets

Three New USDA Directories Help Connect Consumers and Farmers through Local Food Opportunities

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Administrator Anne Alonzo announced that USDA's National Farmers Market Directory now lists 8,268 markets, an increase of 76 percent since 2008. The data reflects continued demand and growth of farmers markets in every region of the country. Alonzo also announced that AMS is developing three new local food directories that will expand USDA's support for local and regional foods by providing easy access to the most current information about the local food market.

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USDA Seeks Public Input to Increase Transparency of SNAP Retailer Data

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking public input concerning a proposal to provide more information to the public about the amount of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits used by participants at individual grocery stores and retailers. USDA's goal is to provide as much transparency as possible on retailer data within the limits of the law. In doing so, USDA will consider input from a wide variety of stakeholders through a Request for Information (RFI) published in the Federal Register. The RFI seeks public comment on several questions related to the transparency of SNAP retailer redemption information.

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Provides Six-Month Update on Farm Bill Implementation Progress

USDA continues progress on every title of the Farm Bill

Disaster Relief, Risk Management Tools, Innovative Conservation Partnerships, Research Foundation All Moving Forward  

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced continued progress on implementing the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill), which President Obama signed into law nearly six months ago on Feb. 7, 2014. The 2014 Farm Bill reforms agricultural policy, reduces the deficit, and helps grow America’s economy.

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USDA Partners with States, Tribes to Improve Public Access on Private Lands

USDA announces $20 million in grants to protect wildlife, enhance outdoor recreation and create rural business opportunities

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that the Department of Agriculture will partner with nine State agencies and with the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakima Nation to increase recreational and economic opportunities on private lands. Funding is provided through USDA's Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

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New Report Shows Budget Impact of Rising Firefighting Costs

Other Forest Programs, Including Efforts to Help Prevent and Mitigate Fire Damage Have Shrunk; Secretary Vilsack Renews Call to Better Protect Public Forests from Wildfire Threats

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new report showing that as the cost of fighting forest fires has rapidly increased over the last 20 years, the budgets for other forest programs, including those that can help prevent and mitigate fire damage, have substantially shrunk. The Forest Service's firefighting appropriation has rapidly risen as a proportion of the Forest Service's overall budget, increasing from 16 percent in 1995 to 42 percent today, forcing cuts in other budget areas.

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USDA Announces $200 Million to Promote Innovation in SNAP Employment and Training Programs

The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that up to $200 million in competitive grants is available for state SNAP agencies to design and conduct employment and training (E&T) pilot projects to help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants find jobs and increase their earnings. A portion of these funds will be used to fund an independent evaluation of the E&T pilots. The solicitation for the evaluation contract was also released.

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