Progress on 2014 Farm Bill Implementation
USDA's farm bill implementation team is composed of key sub-cabinet officials and experts from every mission area of the Department. Through outreach and listening sessions we are sharing information and hearing from stakeholders. Announcements on new agriculture research partnerships, conservation and nutrition programs, and other Farm Bill provisions will be made in the coming weeks and months.
To date, we've made important progress on every title of the Farm Bill including updates to risk management tools, modifications to farm loan programs, announcements regarding available funds for agricultural research, disaster relief to farmers and ranchers and much more. Information on progress and accomplishments is provided below.
Farm Bill Implementation Updates:
TITLE I - Commodity Programs
Agricultural Risk Coverage Program and Price Loss Coverage Program:
- December 22, 2014: FSA Announces New Yield Data for Safety Net Calculations
- November 10, 2014: Coverage Selection for New 2014 Farm Bill Safety Net Programs Begins Nov. 17
- October 2, 2014: USDA Farm Service Agency Announces Key Dates for New 2014 Farm Bill Safety Net Programs
- September 25, 2014: USDA Unveils Key New Programs to Help Farmers Manage Risk
- August 1, 2014: USDA Sending Acreage History and Yield Reports to Help Producers Prepare for New Farm Bill Programs (ARC and PLC)
- May 29, 2014: USDA Awarding $6 Million to Prepare Farmers for New Farm Bill Programs, Farm Bill Implementation Continues at Brisk Pace with Universities and State Cooperative Extension Programs Now Set to Help Educate Farmers
- April 29, 2014: USDA begins competitive process to award funding for farm bill decision aids and outreach tools. Proposals accepted through May 9, 2014.
Cotton Transition Payments:
- August 7, 2014: Cotton Transition Assistance Program Enrollment Begins
Dairy Forward Pricing Program:
- March 21, 2014: USDA publishes final rule that re-establishes the Dairy Forward Pricing Program.
Extension of Programs:
- March 28, 2014: FSA publishes Federal Register notice for the extension of the following programs: (1) Marketing Assistance Loans; (2) Milk Income Loss Contract; (3) Dairy Indemnity Payment Program; (4) Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program; and (5) Sugar.
- June 24, 2014: USDA Announces Loan Rates for 2014-Crop Peanuts
- March 28, 2014: USDA publishes press release announcing county and regional loan rates.
Margin Protection Program:
- January 12, 2015: More than Half of Nation's Dairy Producers Enroll in New Margin Protection Program
- December 4, 2014: USDA Extends Application Deadline for Dairy Margin Protection Program to Dec. 19
- October 29, 2014: USDA Extends Dairy Margin Protection Program Deadlines
- August 28, 2014: Enrollment for New Dairy Farm Risk Management Program to Begin Sept. 2
Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program:
- December 12, 2014: USDA Provides Greater Protection for Fruit, Vegetable and Other Specialty Crop Growers
Supplemental Agriculture Disaster Assistance:
- February 10, 2015: USDA Designates Natural Disaster Areas in 256 Counties in Western and Southwestern United States Due to Drought, Opening Door to Assistance
- November 24, 2014: USDA Disaster Assistance to Help Thousands of Honeybee, Livestock and Farm-Raised Fish Producers
- September 17, 2014: USDA Announces Additional Support for Citrus Growers Impacted by HLB/citrus greening
- September 2, 2014: Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by Oct. 1
- August 1, 2014: USDA Extends Deadline for the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program
- July 21, 2014: Disaster Assistance for 2012 Frost or Freeze Fruit Crop Losses Announced
- July 9, 2014: USDA Provides 12-Week Progress Update on Disaster Assistance, 106,000 Payment Helping Farmers in 40 States Recover from Losses; Producers reminded sign-up deadline approaching for ELAP
- June 23, 2014: USDA Announces New Support for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers, changes to disaster assistance programs to improve the financial security of new and beginning farmers and ranchers
- April 15, 2014: USDA publishes press release announcing the start of sign-up for farmers and ranchers disaster assistance programs restored by the Farm Bill.
- April 7, 2014: USDA publishes press release announcing the sign-up date for farmer and rancher disaster assistance programs. Sign-up begins on April 15, 2014.
TITLE II - Conservation
- February 19, 2015: Natural Resources Conservation Service and Forest Service Partnership Continues Conservation Work Nationwide
- February 12, 2015: USDA Report Demonstrates Positive Impact of $300 Million Investment in Sage-grouse Conservation on Working Lands in West
- January 26, 2015: USDA Seeks Applications for Conservation Innovation Grants
- January 14, 2015: Agriculture Secretary Announces Funding for 115 Conservation Projects in 50 States--Farm Bill Initiative Marks New Era for Conservation efforts
- December 23, 2014: USDA extends public comment period for Conservation Stewardship Program Rule until January 20th, 2015
- December 11, 2014: USDA Seeks Public Comment on New Environmental Quality Incentives Program Rule
- September 15, 2014: Secretary Vilsack Highlights Innovative Conservation Efforts during Midwest Farm Visit (Conservation Innovation Grants)
- September 8, 2014: USDA Provides $328 Million to Conserve Wetlands and Farmland, Boost Economy (Agricultural Conservation Easement Program)
- Aug 7, 2014: USDA Partners with States, Tribes to Improve Public Access on Private Lands
- August 4, 2014: New Regional Conservation Partnership Program Receives Nearly 600 Initial Proposals
- July 22, 2014: USDA Reminds Farmers of 2014 Farm Bill Conservation Compliance Changes
- July 18, 2014: Watershed Rehabilitation Funding to Repair Dams in 26 States
- July 2, 2014: USDA Invests $50 million in Red River Basin Conservation Effort to Minimize Flooding, Improve Water and Soil Quality, Help Waterfowl, Strengthen Agriculture and Outdoor Recreation Economies
- June 23, 2014: First participants in Conservation Stewardship Program can renew for five more years
- June 20, 2014: USDA Announces Landmark Commitment to Improve Sage-Grouse Habitat
- June 19, 2014: USDA Pledges Financial Support for Chesapeake Bay Water Quality Partnerships
- June 4, 2014: USDA Announces Programs to Conserve Sensitive Land and Help Beginning Farmers, Programs that Allow Producers to Protect Land and Help New, Minority and Veteran Farmers Get their Start in Agriculture
- May 27, 2014: USDA, Partners Usher in a New Era in Conservation, New Regional Conservation Partnership Program Goes Beyond Traditional Government Efforts to Allow Businesses, Other Partners to Invest in Regional Conservation Projects
- May 1, 2014: USDA Announces New Landmark Conservation Initiatives, begins accepting applications for the Agricultural Conservation Easements Program (ACEP) and the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP)
- Applications are being accepted for the Conservation Stewardship Program and Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
TITLE III - Trade
Emerging Markets Program (EMP):
- April 17, 2014: FAS publishes a Notice of Funding Availability for EMP, with $10 million available in 2014. EMP applications are reviewed on a rolling basis during the fiscal year. Applications received after May 19, 2014, will be considered for funding if funding remains available.
Foreign Market Development Cooperator Program (FMD) and Market Access Program (MAP):
- November 19, 2014: USDA Helps Open and Expand Export Markets for U.S. Agriculture (FY15 funding)
- April 16, 2014: USDA Helps Open and Expand Export Markets for U.S. Agriculture through 2014 Farm Bill Programs
Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC):
- May 6, 2014: FAS publishes final rule to broaden the range of projects funded by the program.
- April 17, 2014: FAS publishes a Notice of Funding Availability for TASC, with $9 million available. Applications received after May 28, 2014, will be considered if funding remains available.
U.S. Atlantic Spiny Dogfish Study:
- May 5, 2014: USDA submits report to Congress on the existing market in the U.S. for the U.S. Atlantic Spiny Dogfish.
TITLE IV - Nutrition Programs
Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP):
- March 10, 2014: FNS releases Implementation Memorandum to States on phasing out the eligibility of women, infants and children (PDF, 273KB).
Community Food Projects:
- February 19, 2015: USDA Announces $9 Million to Support Community Food Projects Program
- February 27, 2014: The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) releases Notice of Funding Availability for the Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program, with $5 million available.
Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive:
- September 29, 2014: USDA Announces up to $31 Million to Empower People to Make Healthy Eating Choices
Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Pilot
- April 7, 2014: FNS announces an RFP for this pilot program, which will take place during the 2014-2015 school year.
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Payments:
- March 5, 2014: Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) releases Implementation Memorandum to States on the elimination of standard utility allowances (PDF, 47KB) in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for LIHEAP payments less than $20.
Multiagency Taskforce on Commodity Programs:
- April 24, 2014: FNCS signs a memorandum appointing members to the multi-agency taskforce to provide coordination and direction for commodity programs.
- March 14, 2014: The Under Secretary of Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services issues memorandum to solicit names for a multiagency task force to provide coordination and direction for commodity programs.
Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables
- December 8, 2014: USDA Selects States for Participation in the Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables
- July 21, 2014: USDA Releases Request for Applications for Unprocessed Fruit and Vegetable Pilot
- September 17, 2014: Deadline Approaching for SNAP Retailers to Pay EBT Equipment Costs, as Required by the Farm Bill
- August 25, 2014: USDA Announces $200 Million to Promote Innovation in SNAP Employment and Training Programs
- March 21, 2014: FNS releases Implementation Memorandum to States (PDF, 212KB) communicating major SNAP related provisions of the Act.
TITLE V - Credit
Farm Loan Programs/Direct Farm Ownership:
- February 7, 2014: FSA implements changes in the interest rate on Direct Farm Ownership loans that are made in conjunction with other lenders.
- March 26, 2014: FSA issues agency directive implementing non-discretionary microloan provisions (PDF, 108KB).
Modifications to Farm Loan Programs:
- March 24, 2014: FSA issues news release announcing changes to Farm Loan Programs as part of the Farm Bill.
TITLE VI - Rural Development
Biodiesel Fuel Education Program:
- May 5, 2014: REE announces availability of $960,000 for grants to educate consumers about the benefits of biodiesel fuel use.
- September 4, 2014: USDA Announces Loan Guarantee to Help Innovative Company Turn Waste Into Renewable Jet Fuel
- June 13, 2014: Vilsack Announces Farm Bill Funding for Converting to Biomass Fuel Systems
- October 27, 2014: USDA Proposes Inclusion of New, Innovative Products in the BioPreferred Program
- Aug 6, 2014: USDA Announces Inclusion of Wood Products and Other Materials in BioPreferred Program
- July 14, 2014: USDA's BioPreferred® program office will host a public meeting on August 1, 2014, for stakeholders to discuss incorporating mature market (wood) products into the BioPreferred program (PDF, 87KB)
- October 22, 2014: USDA Announces $190.5 Million in Funding for Rural Broadband and Telecommunications Infrastructure
Business and Industry Loan Guarantee:
- May 8, 2014: USDA Announces Funds Available for Local Food Enterprises, Historic Investment Will Support Entire Local Food Supply Chain
- May 5, 2014: Rural Development announces availability of funding to provide support for local or regional food producers.
Definition of Rural Housing:
- May 5, 2014: Rural Development publishes maps identifying which rural areas are eligible for housing programs.
- March 13, 2014: Rural Development issues guidance to State Directors, field staff and stakeholders on implementing new eligibility requirements regarding the definition of rural housing.
Rural Business Enterprise Grants/Rural Business Opportunity Grants:
- September 12, 2014: USDA Announces Investments to Increase Economic Activity in Rural Areas and on Native Lands
Rural Cooperative Development Grants:
- April 29, 2014: USDA announces availability of $5.8 million through this program.
Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program
- July 31, 2014: USDA Announces Grants to Community Partners to Create Jobs and Strengthen Small Rural Businesses through Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP)
- May 20, 2014: USDA Announces Availability of Loans and Grants to Support Rural Economic Development
Value Added Producer Grants (VAPG):
- August 19, 2014: USDA Announces $25 Million for Agricultural Entrepreneurs to Turn Commodities into Value-Added Products
- March 25, 2014: Rural Development publishes notice in the Federal Register extending the application period for Fiscal Year 2013 and 2014 funding for VAPG, with up to $25.5 million available for these grants.
Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program:
- April 22, 2014: USDA announces 116 project awards through this program. The total award of nearly $387 million included $150 million in grants supported by the Farm Bill.
TITLE VII - Research and Related Matters
Agricultural and Food Policy Research Centers:
- April 15, 2014: USDA announces awards for the four research centers, totaling almost $4 million.
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative:
- February 20, 2015: USDA Announces More Than $160 Million Available in Funding for Food and Agriculture Research, Education, and Extension
- February 3, 2015: USDA Announces the Availability of $16 Million to Support Food Production
Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP):
- February 2, 2015: USDA Invests $18 Million to Train Beginning Farmers and Ranchers; Emphasis on Military Veterans and Limited-Resource Farmers
- January 12, 2015: USDA Announces More Than $18 Million to Support Training and Development for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers
- April 11, 2014: USDA publishes press release announcing the availability of more than $19 million in grants to help train, educate and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of agricultural producers through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). Applications are due June 12, 2014.
- June 13, 2014: Vilsack Announces Farm Bill Funding for Bioenergy Research
Budget Submission and Funding:
- March 10, 2014: REE submits its first Budget Submission and Funding report to Congress.
Citrus Disease Research:
- February 9, 2015: Vilsack Announces $30 Million to Fight Citrus Disease; USDA Targets Citrus Greening with Promising Tools and Long Term Solutions
- December 8, 2014: USDA Citrus Disease Subcommittee Meets on FY 2015 Research Agenda, Budget Priorities
- June 12, 2014: USDA Announces $31.5 Million in New Farm Bill Funds for Research to Fight Citrus Greening
- May 13, 2014: USDA Announces First Citrus Greening Funding Allocations and Appointments to Citrus Disease Subcommittee
- March 17, 2014: A subcommittee is formally established within the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board, under the Specialty Crop Committee, and solicitation letters (PDF, 106KB) for nominations are issued.
Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (FFAR):
- July 23, 2014:Secretary Vilsack Announces Creation of Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research
- April 4, 2014: USDA publishes Federal Register notice.
- March 31, 2014: Letters soliciting nominations to the FFAR Board are mailed to interested parties and a Federal Register Notice for Solicitation of Nominations for Members of the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research is submitted for publication.
- October 7, 2014: Statement from Secretary Vilsack Celebrating Central State University's New Status as an 1890 Land-Grant Institution
- July 2, 2014: USDA Grants Aim to Expand Science Capacity at Non-Land-Grant Colleges and Universities
- July 2, 2014: USDA Announces Availability of Funding to Support Agriculture and Food Research at Tribal Land-Grant Colleges
- June 23, 2014: USDA Announces Availability of Funding to Support Agriculture and Food Science Facilities at Ohio's Central State University
- May 6, 2014: USDA Announces Funding for Biodiesel Fuel Education Program
Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative:
- March 17, 2014: NIFA releases Notice of Funding Availability for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (PDF, 159KB), with $20 million available in FY 2014.
Specialty Crop Research Initiative:
- October 2, 2014: USDA Invests Nearly $118 Million to Support America's Specialty Crop Producers
- March 17, 2014: NIFA releases Notice of Funding Availability for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (PDF, 292KB), with $76.8 million available in FY 2014.
TITLE VIII - Forestry
Insect and Disease Designation:
- May 20, 2014: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Announces Action to Combat Insects and Diseases that Weaken Forests, Increase Fire Risk
- March 19, 2014: Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell sends a letter to all state governors notifying them of the opportunity to submit requests for designating their priority insect and disease areas for treatment.
TITLE IX - Energy
Biomass Crop Assistance Program:
- December 16, 2014: USDA Improves Forest Health by Harvesting Biomass for Energy
- July 23, 2014: USDA Selects 36 Energy Facilities to Accept Biomass Deliveries
- June 9, 2014: USDA Announces Funding Availability for Turning Biomass Material into Energy
- May 20, 2014: USDA Announces $25 Million in Support for Renewable Biomass Energy
Rural Energy for America Program:
- February 10, 2015: USDA Announces Funding for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects
- May 5, 2014: USDA publishes Notice of Funding Availability announcing the availability of approximately $70 million in funding for loan guarantees and grants.
TITLE X - Horticulture
Bulk Shipments of Apples to Canada:
- April 4, 2014: AMS publishes final rule in the Federal Register amending regulations under the Export Apple Act to allow bulk containers to be shipped to Canada without U.S. inspection.
Christmas Tree Research and Promotion Order:
- April 7, 2014: AMS publishes a notice lifting stay on the Christmas Tree Research and Promotion.
Local Foods Promotion Program/Farmers Market Promotion Program:
- January 27, 2015: USDA Partnering to Conduct Grant Workshops to Support Local Foods
- September 29, 2014: USDA Awards Over $52 Million in Grants to Grow Organic and Local Food Economies
- May 8, 2014: USDA announces availability of $15 million through the Farmers Market Promotion Program.
- December 30, 2014: Report on a Federal standard of identity for honey was sent to the Food and Drug Administration.
- December 15, 2014: USDA Announces Proposed Expansion of the Organic Assessment Exemption. January 15, 2015: Comment period extended.
National Clean Plant Network:
- June 30, 2014: USDA Makes $5 Million in Farm Bill Support for 19 projects under National Clean Plant Network
- March 24, 2014: The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announces a Request for Applications (RFA) for the National Clean Plant Network (DOC, 210KB), with $5 million available.
Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention:
- April 3, 2014: USDA announces $48.1 million in funding for 383 projects to help prevent the introduction or spread of plant pests and diseases. Applications are being accepted through May 23, 2014.
Specialty Crop Block Grants:
- October 23, 2014: AMS publishes Guidance for Multi-state Grants under the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.
- October 2, 2014: USDA Invests Nearly $118 Million to Support America's Specialty Crop Producers
- April 17, 2014: USDA publishes press release announcing historic Farm Bill support for Specialty Crop Block Grants through $66 million available to state departments of agriculture.
TITLE XI - Crop Insurance
APH Yield Exclusion:
- December 18, 2014: USDA Releases APH Yield Exclusion Resources to Help Farmers Manage Risk (PDF, 19KB)
- October 21, 2014: USDA to Launch New Farm Bill Program to Help Provide Relief to Farmers Affected by Severe Weather (APH Yield Exclusion)
Changes to Crop Insurance Provisions to Benefit New Farmers:
- June 30, 2014: Department Announces New Beginning Farmer Benefits, Other Changes to Crop Insurance that Provide Flexibility to Farmers
- September 26, 2014: USDA Implements New Farm Bill Provision for Peanut Producers
Permanent Enterprise Unit Subsidy:
- May 1, 2014: RMA completes update to its systems to reflect the permanent enterprise unit subsidy as mandated by the Farm Bill. This will impact crops beginning with the May 20, 2014 actuarial filing and continue through the November 30, 2014 actuarial filing.
Premium Amounts for Catastrophic Risk Protection (CAT):
- April 3, 2014: RMA issues public release of actuarial documents to revise the premium rates charged for CAT coverage to be based on the average historical "loss ratio" plus a reasonable reserve.
Prohibition of CAT on Crops Used for Grazing:
- April 15, 2014: RMA issues guidance document to amend the Special Provisions of Insurance for the annual forage policy. This amendment sets forth the prohibition of CAT coverage on crops and grasses used for grazing.
Publication of Information on Violations of Premium Adjustments:
- March 27, 2014: RMA establishes section entitled "Rebating Violations and Sanctions" in the Frequently Asked Questions section of its public website. RMA will add information to this section when it determines that rebating violations have occurred.
Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX):
- August 12, 2014: USDA Implements New Farm Bill Provisions for Cotton Producers (PDF, 19KB)
Supplemental Coverage Option:
- November 19, 2014: USDA Looks to Expand Supplemental Coverage Option for the 2016 Crop Year (PDF, 191KB)
- August 26, 2014: USDA Releases Additional Supplemental Coverage Option Availability Maps (PDF, 19KB)
- July 29, 2014: 2014 Farm Bill Measure Strengthens and Expands Insurance Coverage Options for Farm Operations
Whole-Farm Revenue Protection:
- November 6, 2014: USDA Announces Availability of New Whole-Farm Revenue Insurance Protection (PDF, 31KB)
- October 3, 2014: New Whole-Farm Revenue Protection Insurance Premium Subsidy Established (PDF, 19KB)
- May 21, 2014: New Pilot Program Offers Coverage for Fruits and Vegetables, Organic and Diversified Farms
TITLE XII - Miscellaneous
- February 6, 2015: USDA Announces Over $9 Million to Support Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers
- December 3, 2014: USDA Announces $9.7 Million in Dedicated Outreach and Technical Assistance to Diversify American Agriculture
- August 12, 2014: Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden Announces Funding for Research to Benefit Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers
- July 29, 2014: USDA Announces $9 Million in Grants to Help Veterans and Minority Farmers Get Started in Agriculture (2501 Program)
- April 30, 2014: FSIS and FDA signs an MOU to improve food safety, fraud prevention, and inspection of catfish and catfish products. FSIS continues to submit monthly reports to Congress on implementation of this provision from the Farm Bill.
- March 14, 2014: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) submits the first status report to Congress on the development of the final rule establishing a catfish inspection program.
Military Veteran Liaison:
- November 14, 2014: USDA Announces Karis Gutter as USDA's First Military Veterans Agriculture Liaison
- May 2, 2014: USDA announces the Foreign Agricultural Service will accept claims under the Pima Agriculture Cotton Trust Fund for calendar year 2014.
Sheep Production and Marketing Grant Program:
- December 7, 2014: AMS announced the Sheep Production and Marketing Grant Program award