Farm Policy News

Grant funding available for producers looking to diversify their operations 

Agricultural producers interested in diversifying and taking on a new element to their operation are encouraged to apply for a Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

USDA Rural Development has $37 million in grant funding available for this program in 2020. Individuals and groups of producers can apply for grants up to $75,000 for planning, and $250,000 for implementation and working capital.

Weigh in on changes to Environmental Quality Incentives Program

As it works to implement changes to the 2018 farm bill, the U.S. Department of Agriculture continues to accept public comments on its rule addressing the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

EQIP is one of the nation’s largest conservation programs. As of 2018, 13.7 million acres were covered under active and completed EQIP contracts. EQIP helps producers implement conservation practices on their operations that preserve soil, water, and other natural resources.

South Dakota Legislative Update-Jan. 28

Today is Day 10 of South Dakota’s Legislative Session. Our state’s session is short and moves quickly. This year there are 37 Legislative Days (LD) and all bills need to be introduced by Feb. 7 (LD 16) and pass both houses by March 9 (LD 33). The last day for gubernatorial vetoes is March 30 (LD. 37). 

Right now new bills are being introduced daily and we anticipate our bill watch list growing. Below are a few bills we are currently monitoring.

Can’t make the hearing in Lincoln? 6 steps for weighing in on legislation

Nebraska residents are often referred to as the second house of our unique unicameral legislative system. Recognizing the importance of constituent voices in the legislative process and the long distances some must travel to appear before a legislative committee, rules now allow letters of testimony to be submitted and included as an exhibit in the official hearing record, permitting participation in the process—even if you are not able to travel to Lincoln.

Center offers recommendations to further improve Conservation Stewardship Program

On Nov. 12, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced changes to the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), which offers farmers and ranchers a valuable opportunity to build on and increase conservation on their operations.

The 2018 farm bill made a variety of changes to CSP, and this rule is the process where the USDA puts them into action. The changes include: 

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