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 USDA Announces Conservation Reserve Program Results
WASHINGTON, May 5, 2016 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the enrollment of more than 800,000 acres in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) through the program’s 49th sign up period. Through CRP, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) helps farmers offset the costs of restoring, enhancing and protecting certain grasses, shrubs and trees that improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and strengthen wildlife habitat. Farmers’ and ranchers’ participation in CRP continues to provide numerous benefits to our nation, including helping reduce emissions of harmful greenhouse gases and providing resiliency to future weather changes.
 Obama Administration to Help Five Small Communities Revitalize Downtowns through Broadband Service
WASHINGTON – May 5, 2016 – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the selection of communities in five states that will participate in the Cool & Connected planning assistance program, an innovative initiative to help people use broadband service for downtown revitalization and economic development.
 USDA Announces $15.6 Million in Grants to Strengthen Rural Communities
WASHINGTON, May 4, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced $15.6 million in grants to increase prosperity in rural America through research, education, and extension programs focused on promoting rural community development, economic growth, and sustainability. These grants were made through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Foundational program, administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
 Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund
WASHINGTON, May 3, 2016 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the launch of a new private investment fund with the potential to inject $100 million into small food and agriculture businesses across rural America. The fund, known as the Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund, will be the fourth Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC) that USDA has helped to create since 2014, and is part of USDA’s ongoing efforts to help attract private sector capital to investment opportunities in rural America to help drive more economic growth in rural communities.
 USDA Announces $4.7 Million Available in Grants for Food Safety Training, Outreach and Technical Assistance
WASHINGTON, April 18, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the availability of $4.7 million in grants for food safety education, training, and technical assistance projects that address the needs of owners and operators of small to mid-sized farms, beginning farmers, socially-disadvantaged farmers, small processors, small fresh fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers, food hubs, farmers’ markets, and others.
 USDA Seeks Applications for Grants to Help Agricultural Producers Increase the Value of Their Products
WASHINGTON, April 8, 2016 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is making up to $44 million available to farmers, ranchers and businesses to develop new bio-based products and expand markets through the Value-Added Producer Grant program.
 USDA Announces New GroupGAP Program for the Produce Industry
WASHINGTON, April 4, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced the official launch of GroupGAP, a new certification program that helps small and mid-sized growers and cooperatives meet retailers' on-farm food safety requirements.
 USDA Announces $18.1 Million to Help Rural Businesses Create Jobs
WASHINGTON, July 29, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced loans and grants for 92 projects worth $18.1 to help support the start-up or expansion of rural small businesses. These funds are part of more than 20,000 grants and loans to more than 85,000 rural businesses USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service has awarded since the start of the Obama administration.
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