USDA Announces $27 Million in Grants Available to Support the Local Food Sector

Funding opportunity

USDA Announces $27 Million in Grants Available to Support the Local Food Sector

Date:
Wednesday, January 11, 2017 – 9:45am
Contact Info:

Release No.: 189-16

WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced the availability of $27 million in grants to fund innovative projects designed to strengthen market opportunities for local and regional food producers and businesses.

“These grants will continue USDA’s support for the local food sector as an important strategy for keeping wealth in rural communities,” said AMS Administrator Elanor Starmer.  “Entrepreneurs around the country are creating jobs and new economic opportunities in response to growing consumer demand for local food.  AMS is excited to partner with local food stakeholders to strengthen local economies and improve access to fresh, healthy food for their communities.”

AMS today announced the request for applications for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program, which includes Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) grants, and the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program(FSMIP).  These programs and other resources across USDA are helping to revitalize rural America by supporting local and regional food stakeholders.

The FMPP provides funds for direct farmer-to-consumer marketing projects such as farmers markets, community-supported agriculture programs, roadside stands, and agritourism.  Over the past 10 years, the FMPP has awarded more than 870 grants totaling over $58 million.  The successful results of these investments are summarized in the Farmers Market Promotion Program 2016 Report. The LFPP supports projects focused on intermediary supply chain activities for local food businesses. LFPP was established in the 2014 Farm Bill to increase funding for marketing activities such as aggregation, processing, storage, and distribution of local foods.

The FSMIP provides about $1 million in matching funds to state departments of agriculture, state colleges and universities, and other appropriate state agencies. Funds will support research projects to address challenges and opportunities in marketing, transporting, and distributing U.S. agricultural products domestically and internationally.

AMS will host a webinar for potential FMPP and LFPP grant applicants on Wednesday, February 15, 2017, at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time, and a teleconference for potential FSMIP grant applicants on Thursday, February 16, 2017, at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time.  For more information about FSMIP, FMPP and LFPP, visit: www.ams.usda.gov/AMSgrants.  The website also contains a link to a grants decision tree, “What AMS Grant is Right for ME?”, to help applicants determine which AMS grant fits their project best.

The grant applications for FSMIP, FMPP and LFPP must be submitted electronically through www.grants.gov/  by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, March 27, 2017.

AMS will also host a webinar to introduce potential applicants to Grants.gov on Wednesday, February 8, 2017, at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time.  Applicants are urged to start the Grants.govregistration process as soon as possible to ensure that they meet the deadline and encouraged to submit their applications well in advance of the posted due date.  Any grant application submitted after the due date will not be considered unless the applicant provides documentation of an extenuating circumstance that prevented their timely submission of the grant application, read more on AMS Late and Non-Responsive Application Policy.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

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USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Funding Opportunities

Funding opportunity

The following grant opportunities were created, updated, or deleted on Grants.gov:
USDA
Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Marketing Service
Farmers Market Promotion Program
Synopsis 1
USDA
Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Marketing Service
Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program
Synopsis 2
USDA
Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Marketing Service
Local Food Promotion Program
Synopsis 1
USDA
Department of Agriculture
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
AgrAbility – Assistive Technology Program for Farmers with Disabilities
Synopsis 2
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Now Available – Final Test Guidelines for Ecological Effects

 EPA Pesticide Program Updates

     From EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs 

     www.epa.gov/pesticides

January 12, 2017

 In This Update:

Now Available – Final Test Guidelines for Ecological Effects

EPA’s final test guidelines for ecological effects are now available. The test guidelines, “Guidelines for Aquatic and Sediment-Dwelling Fauna, Aquatic Microcosm and Field Testing,” are part of a series of test guidelines established by the EPA for use in testing pesticides and other chemical substances. One of the goals of the project is the formulation of harmonized guidelines between the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s guidelines for the testing of chemicals.

The guidelines describe how to develop data for submission to the EPA under TSCA, FFDCA, and FIFRA. The data submitted help to inform the EPA’s regulatory decisions. The guidelines will be used by the EPA, the public, and companies that submit data to the EPA.

Go to www.regulations.gov, docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2009-0154, for more information and to find the series of test guidelines.

 EPA distributes its Pesticide Program Updates to external stakeholders and citizens who have expressed an interest in the agency’s pesticide program activities and decisions. This update service is part of EPA’s continuing effort to improve public access to federal pesticide information.

For general questions about pesticides and pesticide poisoning prevention, contact the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC),  by email at npic@ace.orst.edu or, by visiting http://npic.orst.edu.

For information about ongoing activities in the Office of Pesticide Programs, visit our homepage at: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides.

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EPA Finalizes Steps to Better Protect Bees from Pesticides

 EPA Pesticide Program Updates

     From EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs 

     www.epa.gov/pesticides

January 12, 2017

 In This Update:

EPA Finalizes Steps to Better Protect Bees from Pesticides

EPA’s is releasing a final policy which describes methods for addressing acute risks to bees from pesticides.  Applications of acutely toxic pesticides would be prohibited under certain conditions when bees are most likely to be present.  While the restrictions focus on managed bees, EPA believes that these measures will also protect native bees and other pollinators that are in and around treatment areas.  New label language will protect managed bees under contract to provide crop pollination services.

The final Policy to Mitigate the Acute Risk to Bees from Pesticide Products is more flexible and practical than the proposed policy.  For example, a product that retains its toxicity to bees for a shorter time might be allowed to be applied under certain circumstances. Also, in some cases, pesticide application would be allowed when it is unlikely that pollinators will be foraging for crops that have extended bloom periods. The EPA will begin implementing this policy in 2017 by sending letters to registrants describing steps that must be taken to incorporate the new labeling.

EPA continues to encourage efforts by states and tribes to reduce pesticide exposure to bees and other insect pollinators through locally-based measures, such as through Managed Pollinator Protection Plans (MP3s). EPA will continue to assist the American Association of Pest Control Officials in developing performance measures for MP3s and will continue to monitor the progress and effectiveness of pollinator protection plans in reducing bee exposure to pesticides.  EPA has also engaged the Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee in examining the best ways to measure the effectiveness of MP3s.

For more information on the proposal, its supporting documents, and comments received, please seeregulatory docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0818.

EPA’s Actions to Protect Pollinators

Pollinator Protection at EPA

 EPA distributes its Pesticide Program Updates to external stakeholders and citizens who have expressed an interest in the agency’s pesticide program activities and decisions. This update service is part of EPA’s continuing effort to improve public access to federal pesticide information.

For general questions about pesticides and pesticide poisoning prevention, contact the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC),  by email at npic@ace.orst.edu or, by visiting http://npic.orst.edu.

For information about ongoing activities in the Office of Pesticide Programs, visit our homepage at: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides.

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EPA Releases Four Neonicotinoid Risk Assessments for Public Comment

EPA Pesticide Program Updates

     From EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs 

     www.epa.gov/pesticides

January 12, 2017

In This Update:

EPA Releases Four Neonicotinoid Risk Assessments for Public Comment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has published preliminary pollinator-only risk assessments for the neonicotinoid insecticides clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran and also an update to its preliminary risk assessment for imidacloprid, which we published in January 2016. The updated imidacloprid assessment looks at potential risks to aquatic species, and identifies some risks for aquatic insects.

The assessments for clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran, similar to the preliminary pollinator assessment for imidacloprid showed: most approved uses do not pose significant risks to bee colonies. However, spray applications to a few crops, such as cucumbers, berries, and cotton, may pose risks to bees that come in direct contact with residue. In its preliminary pollinator-only analysis for clothianidin and thiamethoxam, the EPA has proposed a new method for accounting for pesticide exposure that may occur through pollen and nectar.

The 60-day public comment period will begin upon publication in the Federal Register, which will happen soon. The EPA invites public comment on all of these preliminary assessments, but we are especially interested in getting input from stakeholders on the new method for assessing potential exposure and risk through pollen and nectar. EPA may revise the pollinator assessment based on comments received as well as additional data that we anticipate receiving during 2017. We hope to release the final neonicotinoid risk assessments for public comment by mid-2018.

Along with the risk assessments, the EPA is also issuing an updated registration review schedule for the four neonicotinoids to reflect the data being submitted in 2017.

EPA encourages stakeholders and interested members of the public to visit the dockets for the neonicotinoid pesticides and sign up for email alerts to be automatically notified when the Agency publishes the next documents for review and comment. View the neonicotinoid registration reviewschedule for links to the individual dockets.

EPA distributes its Pesticide Program Updates to external stakeholders and citizens who have expressed an interest in the agency’s pesticide program activities and decisions. This update service is part of EPA’s continuing effort to improve public access to federal pesticide information.

For general questions about pesticides and pesticide poisoning prevention, contact the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC),  by email at npic@ace.orst.edu or, by visiting http://npic.orst.edu.

For information about ongoing activities in the Office of Pesticide Programs, visit our homepage at: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides.

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Grower – Greenhouse Tomatoes

Job Opportunity

Grower – Greenhouse Tomatoes
Our client is the premier quality producer of year-round greenhouse tomatoes in New England. We are seeking a skilled professional for the position of Grower. Reporting directly to the newly hired and highly respected Head Grower, this position is ideal for someone who is an expert in greenhouse tomato growing, with an innovative and hands-on approach and outstanding leadership abilities.
The Grower will be responsible for the achievement of strategic plan goals and overall management and oversight of a 20+ acre greenhouse. We seek an experienced production leader with outstanding experience in management of greenhouse production. The successful candidate will have the enthusiasm, credibility, openness, and maturity to engage and collaborate with growers, suppliers, research and management team colleagues.
Responsibilities & Duties: 

  • Manages all aspects of the greenhouse and production
  • Directly supervises up to 4 Labor Managers
  • Manages the climate systems, including irrigation and boiler systems
  • Monitors/develops methods to reduce costs/increase efficiencies and overall asset protection
  • Responsible implementation of Greenhouse planting plan, annual visitation schedule, management oversight of various nurseries
  • Manages the farming/growing, implementation of Greenhouse planting plan, management of labor needs
  • Responsible for and maintaining greenhouse inventory items
  • Prepares harvest schedule of all crops
  • Contributes to the forecasting process
  • Responsible for coordination of plant distribution system, support of Greenhouse, scientific and on-going industry research for all crops and follow through
  • Manages difficult or emotional customer situations; Responds promptly to customer needs; Solicits customer feedback to improve service; Responds to requests for service and assistance; Meets commitments.

Requirements: 

  • A Bachelor’s Degree in Agronomy or equivalent preferred
  • 8+ years of experience growing plants in a diverse climate – greenhouse tomato experience a must
  • 5+ years of managerial experience in a production agricultural environment
  • Knowledge of plant propagation, greenhouse and field production methods
  • General comfort level with computer systems (climate control, irrigation, MS Office)
  • Creative and innovative thinker that is results focused
  • Approaches responsibility with a strong sense of ownership, leadership and commitment to excellence.
  • Ability to use sound judgement to solve complex problems and carry out responsibilities with little or no supervision
  • Detail-oriented, yet need able to see the “big picture”
  • Ability to prioritize and deal with competing demands; multi-tasking capacity critical
  • Communicate effectively and professionally in both oral and written communication
  • Must have strong organizational, interpersonal, and time management skills
  • Ability to foster positive relationships with vendors, clients, and company employees
  • Ability to handle rapidly changing situations in a dynamic industry

Company sponsored relocation offered!

Jon Davis
Executive Search Consultant
p: (855) 563-7763  d: (916) 367-7833
e: Jon@JoeProduce.com
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IPM Manager– Greenhouse Tomatoes

Job Opportunity

IPM Manager– Greenhouse Tomatoes
Our client is the premier quality producer of year-round greenhouse tomatoes in New England. We are seeking an extremely knowledgeable professional for the position of IPM Manager. Reporting directly to the newly hired and highly respected Head Grower, this position is ideal for someone who has exceptional skills in Integrated Pest Management in a greenhouse tomato growing environment. We are looking for a strong leader with an innovative and hands-on approach to instilling and reinforcing a preventative, pro-active environment to make certain that all integral parts of IPM is carried out.
The IPM Manager will ensure the early detection and accurate reporting of pest and disease observations along with implementing and evaluating all controls and treatments. The IPM Manager will also ensure Bio-security and sanitation practices are monitored appropriately. The successful candidate will have the enthusiasm, credibility, openness, and maturity to engage and collaborate with team members, suppliers, management and customers.
Responsibilities & Duties: 

  • Oversee the daily IPM efforts to maximize efficiency and accurate extension of the Introduction of bees, beneficials and chemical treatments
  • Directly manage and mentor 4 team leaders
  • Plan the IPM budget and manage toward achieving daily, weekly, monthly, and annual labor goals
  • Work with consultants as needed
  • Keep up to date with pest and disease status and make educated recommendations for control
  • Organize and carry out treatments with careful consideration of ALL aspects of plant and crop conditions
  • Manage the work to comply with company implemented quality guidelines and implement all food safety/GAP rules and regulations
  • Work together with the Corp Care, Quality, Pick and Pack, Human Resources and Management to execute departmental goals
  • Contribute to a positive and safe work environment, implementing and supporting company policies and procedures.

Requirements: 

  • A Bachelor’s Degree in Agronomy or equivalent preferred
  • At least 5 years of experience in IPM
  • Possess a full understanding of how the Crop Care works and be able to train employees
  • Well-versed in USDA regulations for labeling, safety and harvesting –
  • Must become a Licensed Pesticide Applicator
  • In depth knowledge of greenhouse growing of tomatoes a must
  • Experience with various techniques including drip, fogging and spraying
  • Advanced proficiency in MS Excel and Word
  • Experience managing complex budgets
  • At least 2 years of supervisory experience in a production agricultural environment
  • Creative and innovative thinker that is results focused
  • Approaches responsibility with a strong sense of ownership and commitment to excellence
  • Detail-oriented yet able to see the “big picture”
  • Ability to use sound judgement to solve complex problems and carry out responsibilities with little or no supervision
  • Communicate effectively and professionally in both oral and written communication
  • Must have strong organizational, interpersonal, and time management skills
  • Ability to foster positive relationships with vendors, clients, and company employees
  • Ability to handle rapidly changing situations in a dynamic industry
Jon Davis
Executive Search Consultant
p: (855) 563-7763  d: (916) 367-7833
e: Jon@JoeProduce.com

 

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Controlling Public Health Pests: EPA Pesticide Program Updates

 EPA Pesticide Program Updates

From EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs 

www.epa.gov/pesticides

January 10, 2017

 In This Update:

Register for January 24 Webinar on Controlling Public Health Pests

On Tuesday, January 24, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. ET, EPA’s Center of Expertise for School IPM will offer a webinar titled, “Pests of Public Health Importance and the Role of Integrated Pest Management in Schools.” Recent developments in pest-borne diseases, such as the emergence of Zika virus and spread of Lyme disease, signal the need to continually assess the threat of pests to public health. Illnesses carried by insects, rodents, and other pests affect all races, ethnicities, ages and cultures. Vector-borne illnesses are an ever-present threat and efforts to prevent them are critical to protecting public health.

We strive to keep our school playgrounds and other outdoor environments free of pests. The control of vector-borne diseases hinges on understanding the pest and how it becomes established in an ecosystem and ultimately infects a susceptible host. Integrated pest management (IPM) is an approach that uses a hierarchy of practices, including education, pest exclusion, sanitation and other biological and mechanical methods, to reduce unnecessary pesticide exposure while providing sustainable pest control.

Join us as we discuss the primary pests of public health concern, review control strategies, and describe tactics to reduce exposure in your school district.

Our presenters will be:

  • Richard Pollack, PhD, Harvard School of Public Health
  • Pearl English, DNP, Nurse, School District of Philadelphia (PA)
  • Marcia Anderson, PhD, EPA Center of Expertise for School IPM

Upcoming webinars include:

  • More Than Just a Firm Handshake: Bid and Contract Guidance for Securing IPM-Based Services for Schools – February 21, 2017
  • Feed the Kids, Not the Pests: Effective IPM for Cafeterias and Kitchen – March 14, 2017
  • Contending with Invasive Plants on School Grounds – April 17, 2017

Actions you can take:

EPA distributes its Pesticide Program Updates to external stakeholders and citizens who have expressed an interest in the agency’s pesticide program activities and decisions. This update service is part of EPA’s continuing effort to improve public access to federal pesticide information.

For general questions about pesticides and pesticide poisoning prevention, contact the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC),  by email at npic@ace.orst.edu or, by visiting http://npic.orst.edu.

For information about ongoing activities in the Office of Pesticide Programs, visit our homepage at: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides.

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Food Safety Outreach Program Listening Session

As a part of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) strategy to successfully expand the Food Safety Outreach Program (FSOP), NIFA will host a virtual listening session. The focus of the listening session is to gather stakeholder input to develop the priorities for the Request for Applications (RFA) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. NIFA is particularly interested in reaching the intended audience, achieving the most impact, and identifying suggested priorities in the third year of the Food Safety Outreach Program.

The listening session will be held on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (EST). All written comments must be received by 5 p.m. EST on January 31, 2017 to be considered in the initial drafting of the FY 2018 FSOP request for applications.

To view the full Federal Registry Notice (Vol 81, No. 238) and to schedule a 5-minute time slot during the virtual comment period, view the weblink https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/12/12/2016-29655/solicitation-of-input-from-stakeholders-regarding-the-food-safety-outreach-program

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Webinar Series on Crop Pollination

Experts to present webinar series on crop pollination

The majority of U.S. specialty crop growers depend on bees for pollination of their crops. Growers know that without adequate pollination, they would not be profitable. But what are the best pollination strategies for fruit, vegetable, and nut crops? What farm management practices can growers use to support bees and the crop pollination they provide? Experts in crop pollination working under the Integrated Crop Pollination Project will present on these topics and will report on their recent research in this project as part of a webinar series titled: Ensuring crop pollination in US specialty crops. The webinar series will examine the role of wild bees, honey bees and other managed bees in supporting crop pollination and yield in almond, blueberry, tree fruit, pumpkin, and watermelon.

These webinars will all be 45-60 minutes long, with time for questions and discussion with the presenter afterwards. Registered attendees will receive a link to the slides and a recording afterwards.

The register, click on the link for each webinar that you are interested in attending.

The webinar series will be hosted by eXtension.org, an on-line co-operative extension network, and can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection. To learn more about the webinar series, visit the Bee Health eXtension.org website or email icpbees@msu.edu. Certified Crop Advisor CEU credits applied for. Funding for the webinar series is provided by the Integrated Crop Pollination Project, a USDA-NIFA Specialty Crop Research Initiative Grant (#2012-51181-20105).

Katharina Ullmann, PhD
National Crop Pollination Specialist
Tel: (530) 302-5504

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The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is an international nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat.

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