Farm Bill News

Fairness in the livestock industry; USDA comment deadline is Feb. 21

In the final hours of the Obama administration, USDA released three rules for public comment that would increase protections for poultry and livestock farmers. Meat processors were quick to decry these new rules, but for you and other supporters of the Center for Rural Affairs who have advocated for these rules for many years, this was an important and long-awaited step forward.

If you don’t raise livestock, though, you might not understand what all the fuss is about, or what these rules aim to solve. Here’s a breakdown.

Sign up now for the Conservation Stewardship Program

We’d like to let you know about an open funding opportunity for conservation. The signup process for the updated Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is now open and applications are being accepted.

Your initial application is due Feb. 3, 2017. To enroll in the 2017 program, submit an application to the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) by Feb. 3. For this application, you don’t have to know all of the details about the conservation practices that will be the best fit for you and your operation. Those details are worked out with NRCS later on the process.  

Practical Guide to Common Sandhills Conservation Practices now available

The Sandhills of Nebraska is the largest sand dune formation in the Western Hemisphere, spanning almost 20,000 square miles. In addition to its geological importance, the region also serves as home to a significant community of birds and various species at risk, and provides grazing habitat for cattle. These factors create a unique opportunity for conservation efforts designed to address priority resource concerns on area ranches while simultaneously delivering environmental and economic benefits.

What is crop insurance, really?

A lot of you want to see more family farms and ranches and more businesses in our rural communities. You also care about healthy food and clean water. But if you’re not a farmer, and I say the words “crop insurance,” those words might just go in one ear and out the other. Well, guess what: crop insurance has everything to do with the viability of family farms, the health of rural communities, production of healthy food and stewardship of clean water.

Biologically diverse ranch requires a conservation mindset

Located near the headwaters of the Elkhorn River, the Stewart Hereford Ranch sits on 13,000 acres in the Sandhills outside of Newport, Neb. The ranch is owned by Roy and June Stewart and their son and daughter-in-law, Jay and Kaye Stewart, who also manage the operation.

The ranch includes a biologically diverse mix of sub-irrigated meadows and sandhill pastures, which require a conservation mindset, according to its owners.

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