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JAFSCD cover spring 2014, volume 4, issue 3

  

Good Food Education & Training

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Here are the major funding sources from the USDA.

 

National Agriculture Information Service (Funding Opportunities)

 

Small Business Innovation Research Program: Phase I

Funds may be awarded up to $90,000 for a Phase I project. Success rates for applicants have been about 15% for Phase I. Projects dealing with agriculturally related manufacturing and alternative and renewable energy technologies are encouraged across all 2009 SBIR topic areas. USDA SBIR's flexible research areas ensure innovative projects consistent with USDA's vision of a healthy and productive nation in harmony with the land, air, and water. USDA SBIR Program has awarded over 2000 research and development projects since 1983, allowing hundreds of small businesses to explore their technological potential, and providing an incentive to profit from the commercialization of innovative ideas. Click below for more SBIR information.

 

Small Business Innovation Research Program: Phase II

Funds may be awarded up to $400,000 for Phase II projects. All Phase II projects must have previously completed a successful USDA Phase I project before applying for a Phase II grant. Success rates for applicants have been 50-60% for Phase II. Projects dealing with agriculturally related manufacturing and alternative and renewable energy technologies are encouraged across all 2010 SBIR topic areas. USDA SBIR's flexible research areas ensure innovative projects consistent with USDA's vision of a healthy and productive nation in harmony with the land, air, and water. USDA SBIR has awarded over 2000 research and development projects since 1983, allowing hundreds of small businesses to explore their technological potential, and providing an incentive to profit from the commercialization of innovative ideas. Click below for more SBIR information.

 

ARPA: Agriculture Risk Management Education Program

The Risk Management Education Program provides U.S. agricultural producers with the knowledge, skills and tools needed to make informed risk management decisions for their operations, with the goal of enhancing farm profitability. To that end, the program will fund four Regional RME Centers, one each in the four geographical regions of the U.S. (See RFA for definitions of the four regions). The program will also fund a risk management education electronic support center to provide existing risk management tools and the formation of networks that are focused on agricultural producers; further development of agricultural risk management curricula and materials; the delivery of agricultural RME to producers using one or more of the wide range of delivery methods; and the verification of program impacts. FY '09 RFA includes special emphasis per Section 12026 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, (FCEA)(Pub. L. 110-246), which amends Section 524(a) of the Federal Crop Insurance Act, 7 U.S.C. 1524(a).

 

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program

The U.S. agricultural population is poised to make a dramatic change - half of all current farmers are likely to retire in the next decade. According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, the average age of farm operators was 57 years. Farmers over the age 55 own more than half the farmland in the U.S. But the number of new farmers and ranchers over the age of 35 is increasing, as does the number of smaller farms and ranches nationwide. To address the needs of this changing generation, Section 7410 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Pub .L. No. 110-234) amended Section 7405 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 and made available in Fiscal Year 2009, $17.2 million to fund a Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). According to these legislations, a beginning farm is considered to be one that is operated by one or more operators who have 10 years or less of experience operating a farm or ranch. In 2007, approximately 21 percent of family farms met that definition.

 

Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program

Community Food Projects should be designed to (1): (A) meet the food needs of low-income people; (B) increase the self-reliance of communities in providing for their own food needs; and (C) promote comprehensive responses to local food, farm, and nutrition issues; and/or (2) meet specific state, local, or neighborhood food and agriculture needs for (A) infrastructure improvement and development; (B) planning for long-term solutions; or (C) the creation of innovative marketing activities that mutually benefit agricultural producers and low-income consumers.

 

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Grants

Research and Education Grants: Ranging from $30,000 to $150,000 or more, these grants fund projects that usually involve scientists, producers, and others in an interdisciplinary approach.

Professional Development Grants: To spread the knowledge about sustainable concepts and practices, these projects educate Cooperative Extension Service staff and other ag professionals.

Producer Grants: Producers apply for grants that typically run between $1,000 and $15,000 to conduct research, marketing and demonstration projects and share the results with other farmers and ranchers.

On Farm Research/Partnership: Supports on-farm research by Extension, NRCS, and/or nonprofit organizations. Northeast, Southern and Western regions.

Sustainable Community Innovation: Forges connections between sustainable agriculture and rural community development. Northeast and Southern regions.

 

Specialty Crop Research Initiative Grant

The Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) was established to solve critical industry issues through research and extension activities. Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. SCRI will give priority to projects that are multistate, multi-institutional, or trans-disciplinary; and include explicit mechanisms to communicate results to producers and the public. Projects must address at least one of five focus areas: research in plant breeding, genetics, and genomics to improve crop characteristics; efforts to identify and address threats from pests and diseases, including threats to specialty crop pollinators; efforts to improve production efficiency, productivity, and profitability over the long term; new innovations and technology, including improved mechanization and technologies that delay or inhibit ripening; and methods to prevent, detect, monitor, control, and respond to potential food safety hazards in the production and processing of specialty crops.

 

Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants

The Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants (SPECA) program seeks to: (a) promote and strengthen secondary education and two-year postsecondary education in agriscience and agribusiness in order to help ensure the existence in the United States of a qualified workforce to serve the food and agricultural sciences system; and (b) promote complementary and synergistic linkages among secondary, two-year postsecondary, and higher education programs in the food and agricultural sciences in order to advance excellence in education and encourage more young Americans to pursue and complete a baccalaureate or higher degree in the food and agricultural sciences.

 

Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture invited state departments of agriculture, state agricultural experiment stations and other state agencies to submit proposals that help to market, transport and distribute United States-produced food and agricultural products domestically and internationally. Selected proposals will be funded through the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP).

 

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USDA Rural Development Grants and Loans

Promoting a dynamic business environment in rural America is the goal of Rural Development, Business and Cooperative Programs (BCP), and Business Programs (BP).  BP works in partnership with the private sector and the community-based organizations to provide financial assistance and business planning. BP helps fund projects that create or preserve quality jobs and/or promote a clean rural environment. The financial resources of BP are often leveraged with those of other public and private credit source lenders to meet business and credit needs in under-served areas. Recipients of these programs may include individuals, corporations, partnerships, cooperatives, public bodies, nonprofit corporations, Indian tribes, and private companies.

 

Business and Industry Guaranteed Loans

Purpose is to bolster the existing private credit structure through the guarantee of quality loans which will provide lasting community benefits.

 

Intermediary Relending Program

Under the IRP program, loans are provided to local organizations (intermediaries) for the establishment of revolving loan funds. These revolving loan funds are used to assist with financing business and economic development activity to create or retain jobs in disadvantaged and remote communities.

 

Rural Economic Development Loans and Grants

Provides zero interest loans to local utilities which they, in turn, pass through to local businesses (ultimate recipients) for projects that will create and retain employment in rural areas.

 

Rural Business Enterprise Grants

Grants for rural projects that finance and facilitate development of small and emerging rural businesses help fund distance learning networks, and help fund employment related adult education programs.

 

Rural Business Opportunity Grants

Promotes sustainable economic development in rural communities with exceptional needs through provision of training and technical assistance for business development, entrepreneurs, and economic development officials and to assist with economic development planning.

 

Rural Cooperative Development Grants

For establishing and operating centers for cooperative development for the primary purpose of improving the economic condition of rural areas through the development of new cooperatives and improving operations of existing cooperatives.

 

Rural Energy for America Program

Grants for energy audits and renewable energy development assistance and grants to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements.

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