USDA Missouri Newsletter Cliff Notes for the Busy Farmer
By John Grady
The USDA is investing $43.1 million to transform the food system and support rural farmers, including those in Gasconade County. The funds will be allocated to various initiatives, including compost and food waste reduction efforts, innovative production projects, and grant proposals from the 2021 application cycle.
For Gasconade County farmers, the Composting and Food Waste Reduction (CFWR) cooperative agreements program offers a valuable opportunity to incorporate sustainable practices into their operations. By participating in this program, local farmers can contribute to improved waste management, soil health, and even potentially reduce fertilizer use in the region. This initiative aligns with the USDA's broader goal of creating a more resilient food supply chain while reducing carbon pollution.
The Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUAIP) grants program, although primarily focused on urban agriculture, also supports innovative production projects in rural areas. Gasconade County farmers and organizations can take advantage of these grants to develop cutting-edge agricultural projects that not only improve their operations but also contribute to local food access and education initiatives.
Another significant update from the USDA is the simplification of the application process for the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) for underserved producers, which includes those in Gasconade County. With a CCC-860 form on file with the FSA, producers can obtain basic NAP coverage for all eligible crops. This policy change results in waived service fees for basic coverage and a 50% premium reduction for higher levels of coverage. This streamlined process enables Gasconade County farmers to access crucial risk management tools more easily and affordably.
In addition to these programs, Gasconade County farmers can also benefit from the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) Phase Two and the Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program (PARP). These programs provide economic support for producers who have experienced revenue losses due to natural disasters or the COVID-19 pandemic. Farmers in Gasconade County can apply for these programs by June 2, 2023, and access valuable resources to aid in their recovery.
Lastly, FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux highlights the agency's commitment to revisiting FSA program policies and finding ways to remove obstacles that prevent participation. The expansion of NAP and other policy improvements are aimed at ensuring all producers, including those in Gasconade County, have access to risk coverage and support.
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