Author Archives: BIFB

NRCS Application Notice, Apply NOW!

NRCS Notice Applications Due December 21st, 2012

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) photo (6)reminds potential applicants to contact their local NRCS office soon to find out if they are The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program that eligible for the agency’s most common Farm Bill Programs (Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program, Agricultural Management Assistance Program, and Conservation Stewardship Program). Applications for the second ranking period of 2013 are due at NRCS offices by close of business on December 21, 2012.
The NRCS Office Locator is available at

“We are encouraging farmers and ranchers to utilize the federal funding available to
help improve conservation on private land,” said Mr. Angel Figueroa, NRCS Director of the Pacific Islands Area (PIA).

Provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers through contracts up to a maximum term of ten years in length. These contracts provide financial assistance to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns and for opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland. In addition, a purpose of EQIP is to help producers meet Federal, State, Tribal and local environmental regulations.
The Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) is a voluntary program for conservation-minded landowners who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat on agricultural land, nonindustrial private forest land, and Indian land.

Learn more about Farm Bill Programs and find out about other NRCS services at




What should a “Local” Farm look like?

Beef Runner

I have another article on CNN’s food blog, Eatocracy, this week! This time I’m bringing up the discussion of local food from the perspective of a farmer who most do not consider as ‘local’.  Be sure to read the entire article and join the discussion on CNN’s page.

CNN Local FoodThe term “local” is used frequently in conversations centered on the American food system. Is it 50 miles from your home or 500? Must the food be purchased directly from the farmer? Can the food be sourced by a retailer and sold under a “local” label for stronger buying power?

I have listened to several panel discussions on food topics over the past year and the topic of local food sources normally pops up. Some of these panel discussions have included suburban or urban mothers and restaurant owners. When asked what they considered local food and farmers, a common theme arises…

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House Passes Aid for U.S. Livestock Producers Harmed by Drought

The U.S. House voted to extend federal aid to ranchers who have lost cattle and sheep because of the drought, though disagreements over moving a long-term agriculture-policy bill may delay the aid for months.

The House voted 223-197 today to approve the $383 million drought-aid bill, which would reimburse ranchers for 75 percent of the value of animals killed by the weather. It would also extend aid for weather-related losses for grazing lands, orchards, honey bees and farm-raised fish. The relief expired in 2011, and the bill would make it retroactive to Oct. 1, the start of the current fiscal year.

“There is a disaster happening out there,” Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, an Oklahoma Republican, said before the vote. “Let’s give the tools to our ranchers who are most exposed.”

The Senate probably won’t take up the bill until at least Sept. 10, when Congress returns from a monthlong recess that starts after this week, Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow told reporters. Instead, lawmakers would use the drought bill as a vehicle to work, probably informally, with the House to negotiate a multiyear farm bill. The current law, covering all Department of Agriculture programs, was passed in 2008 and expires Sept. 30.

Stabenow, a Democrat, said the House disaster-aid bill is inadequate. She said fruit producers in 72 counties out of 83 in her home state of Michigan need help and many won’t benefit from the House measure.

“So I’m not passing a bill that only has some help for some producers,” Stabenow said.

Five-Year Bill

The House Agriculture Committee on July 12 approved a five-year bill that would have extended drought aid, reduced or eliminated some crop subsidies, and expanded insurance programs. It also would cut $35.1 billion from the deficit when scored over a decade. Democrats said it cut too much from food aid to the poor, while from some Republicans said the cuts weren’t deep enough. Speaker John Boehner never scheduled a House vote.

“The House is pretty well divided,”Boehner, an Ohio Republican, told reporters today. “You’ve got the left concerned about reductions in the food-stamp program, you’ve got the right who don’t think the cuts go far enough.”

“Frankly I haven’t seen 218 votes in the middle to pass a farm bill,” Boehner said. The House has 435 members.

Drought Aid

Republicans late last week introduced a one-year extension of most farm policy, tied to drought aid through September 2013. That was scuttled after opposition from farm groups, and replaced by a one-year drought-aid bill. That brought opposition from some Democrats because the measure is financed through cuts to conservation programs.

It’s a “sad substitute for what is really needed — long- term farm policy,” said Representative Collin Peterson, the ranking Democrat on the Agriculture Committee. Peterson, from Minnesota, said he would vote for the drought-aid bill as a good-faith effort toward negotiations on a five-year farm bill, which he said will continue over the August recess.

The bill is H.R. 6233.

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