The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced more than $8.3 million in available funding to support small businesses in the creation of advanced research and development projects that will lead to innovative solutions for American agriculture. This funding is available through the Small Business Innovation Research program, administered by NIFA. Companies initially apply for Phase I feasibility studies, which may be followed by Phase II research and development projects. Phase I grants are limited to $100,000 and a duration of eight months, while Phase II grants are limited to $600,000 and a duration of 24 months.
Pat Kincaid credits the dairy cows on a now-shuttered prison farm in Ontario with teaching him the skills he needed to break a life-long cycle of crime and incarceration. The 65-year-old Kingston, Ont., resident, who has spent a total of 35 years behind bars for assaults, thefts and other property crimes, hopes other inmates get the chance to benefit from a program the federal Liberal government is now considering reopening.
“There’s not a program in jail, even today, that can teach those skills that the cows have taught me by working with them,” said Kincaid, who’s been out of prison for seven years. The 2010 closure of the country’s prison farms by the then-Conservative government — six in total operating at institutions in New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta — was highly controversial.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is partnering with 21 states through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) to nearly double the number of fueling pumps nationwide that supply renewable fuels to American motorists. In May 2015, USDA announced the availability of $100 million in grants through the BIP, and that to apply states and private partners match the federal funding by a 1:1 ratio. USDA received applications requesting over $130 million, outpacing the $100 million that is available. With the matching commitments by state and private entities, the BIP is investing a total of $210 million to strengthen the rural economy.
VIlsack declares the week of August 7-13 as National Farmers Market Week.
FSIS last week set updated export requirements for exports to Cuba, including fresh and frozen pork, poultry, beef – and their related products – along with sheep and goat meat. The eligible listings include specific exceptions and several ineligible products under the poultry category based in some cases on the origins of the birds from 13 U.S. states processed before Oct. 20, 2015. Those birds may have been affected by last year’s avian influenza outbreak.
The House of Representatives is expected to vote Thursday or Friday on a bill passed last week by the Senate that would nullify Vermont's geneticall modified organisms labeling law, which went into effect July 1, and prevent any state from enacting its own labeling law.
Britain’s decision last month to leave the European Union could have both market and trade policy effects on the U.S. grain industry, though the U.S. Grains Council says exactly how the change could impact farmers’ bottom lines is among the many unanswered questions. The EU does not import large volumes of U.S. corn due to trade barriers related to biotechnology. Overall, the total value of all types of U.S. feed grain and related products that were exported in the 2014/2015 marketing year was about $745 million. Though the initial grain market impact eased quickly, USGC says follow-on effects on exports could be seen from a stronger U.S. dollar. Markets might also face negative impacts from Brexit on the euro area and, to a lesser extent, the global economy, affecting demand for grain and the meat it produces. However, the largest and longest-term impacts of the Brexit on grains could come from the trade policy arena, not the marketplace.
Russia has extended its ban on imports of Western food to the end of 2017.
U.K. farmland, which for years has rivaled gold as a place for investors to park money in, is starting to lose its allure because of Brexit. Farmland prices, which began falling in late 2015, should drop or at best stagnate in the next six to 12 months on concern about the industry’s future as the U.K. prepares to exit the European Union, said Simon Gooderham, who focuses on rural property at estate agent Cheffins. Many won’t risk buying land due to uncertainty over trade and EU subsidies farmers depend on, he said.
Legislation that will write into law President Obama's Feed the Future initiative and a new food aid program is headed to the White House for his signature. The House voted 369-53 Wednesday to give final congressional approval to the Global Food Security Act, which would ensure that both Feed the Future and the Emergency Food Security Program extend beyond the Obama administration.