Farm Bill

What is the Farm Bill?

The U.S. Farm Bill is a comprehensive piece of authorizing legislation that governs an array of federal agricultural and food programs.  The Farm Bill covers most federal government policies related to agriculture in the United States and is typically renewed every five to seven years. Once passed, the Farm Bill moves into appropriations (a process that determines how much money each Farm Bill program receives). This happens every year until a new Farm Bill is written.

 

The provisions of the Farm Bill are divided into what are called “Titles” – overarching categories related to food and farming. The 2014 Farm Bill has 12 titles: commodities; conservation; trade; nutrition; credit; United States rural development; research; forestry; energy; horticulture; crop insurance; and miscellaneous. New titles can be added during the reauthorization process that happens every five to seven years.

 

Farm Bill programs are generally administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). State and local agencies help implement and manage certain conservation, nutrition, and rural development programs. Public-private partnerships are also authorized in research and crop insurance programs. For example, crop insurance policies are sold by private insurance companies, but they are subsidized by taxpayers and overseen by the USDA.

What is the History of the Farm Bill?

The first Farm Bill – the Agricultural Adjust Act of 1933 (each Farm Bill has its own name, the current version is the Agricultural Act of 2014) – was created to address low commodity prices, national hunger, soil erosion and a lack of credit. Legislation was passed sporadically until Farm Bills were passed in more regular intervals beginning in 1965. Unfortunately, many of the original programs that were designed to ensure that there was healthy food for all and fair prices for farmers, have been stripped away or replaced with programs that benefit corporate interests over the interests of farmers and eaters.

The 2008 documentary Food Fight provides a substantial look at the evolution of American agricultural policy and food culture over the course of the 20th century.

Photo credit: USDA Website, http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=farmbill

 

Open Farm Bill Grants

CFSA maintains this page as a service to our members and others to raise awareness of some USDA -funded grant opportunities that may be relevant to our members. We do not guarantee that the site provides information about all available grants for local, organic growers or processors. For a complete list of grants available from USDA, please visit grants.gov. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition also has a chart that provides a quick guide to Farm Bill related programs and grants, organized by issue and by who is eligible to apply or sign up.

 

Many of the Farm Bill services that are authorized directly to farmers are administered by local agencies and offices. Please contact your local Farm Services Agency office (NC, SC) or Natural Resource Conservation Service office (NC, SC) to inquire about grants and services available directly to farmers.

 

Grant

Agency

Eligibility

Close Date

Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program

USDA , Farm Service Agency

Provides financial assistance to producers of noninsurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory or prevented planting occurs due to natural disasters. An eligible producer is a landowner, tenant or sharecropper who shares in the risk of producing an eligible crop and is entitled to an ownership share of that crop. The 2014 Farm Bill specifies that an individual or entity’s average adjusted gross income (AGI) cannot exceed $900,000 to be eligible for NAP payments. Check with your local FSA office for detailed eligibility information and to apply to the program.

Ongoing

Rural Economic Development Loan and Grants Program

Rural Development

Funding to support $38.6 million in loans and $9.2 million in grants is currently available. The commitment of program dollars will be made to applicants of selected responses that have fulfilled the necessary requirements for obligation. All applicants are responsible for any expenses incurred in developing their applications. Please contact your USDA Rural Development State Office to learn more about eligibility and applications.

Ongoing. 4:30 p.m. on the last business day of each month to be considered for funding in the following month.

Community Food Projects Grants Program

USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Eligible entities include public food program service providers, tribal organizations, or private nonprofit entities, including gleaners, meeting specific requirements as set out in the RFA. Among other requirements, applicants must have experience in one or more of the following areas: community food work, particularly concerning small and mid-sized farms, including the provision of food to low-income communities and the development of new markets in low income communities for agricultural producers; job training and business development experience for food related activities in low-income communities; or efforts to reduce food insecurity in the community, including food distribution, improving access to services, or coordinating services and programs.

3/17/2015

N.C. Specialty Crop Block Grants Program

USDA, N.C. Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services

NCDA&CS will accept grant requests ranging from $20,000 to $200,000 from nonprofit organizations, commodity associations, state and local government agencies, colleges and universities. Grants are not available for projects that directly benefit or provide a profit to a single organization, institution or individual.

3/27/2015

Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers (Section 2501)

USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture

The 2501 program provides grants to organizations that develop outreach programs and provide technical assistance to underserved farmers. Organizations that are eligible to apply for grant funding include: land grant institutions, tribal governments and organization, hispanic serving institutions, American Tribal Community Colleges, Alaska Native Cooperative Colleges, state controlled institutions of higher education, and community-based and non-profit organizations. Organizations must have demonstrated expertise in working with underserved, socially disadvantaged and/or veteran farmer communities.

4/13/2015

Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative

USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture

1862 Land-Grant Institutions, 1890 Land-Grant Institutions, 1994 Land-Grant Institutions, For-profit Organizations Other Than Small Businesses, Other or Additional Information (See below), Private Institutions of Higher Ed, State Agricultural Experiment Stations, State Controlled Institutions of Higher Ed

4/30/2015

Farmers Market Promotion Program

USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service

All applicants under FMPP shall be domestic entities owned, operated, and located within the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The eligible entities are: Agricultural Businesses, Agricultural Cooperatives, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Networks, CSA Associations, Economic Development Corporations, Local Governments, Nonprofit Corporations, Producer Networks, Producer Associations, Public Benefit Corporations, Regional Famers Market Authorities, Tribal Governments

5/14/2015

Local Foods Promotion Program

USDA , Agricultural Marketing Service

Eligible entities may apply if they support local and regional food business enterprises that process, distribute, aggregate, or store locally or regionally produced food products. Such entities may include agricultural businesses, agricultural cooperatives, producer networks, producer associations, community supported agriculture networks, community supported agriculture associations, and other agricultural business entities (for-profit groups); nonprofit corporations; public benefit corporations; economic development corporations; regional farmers’ market authorities; and local and tribal governments

5/14/2015

S.C. Specialty Crops Block Grant Program

USDA , S.C. Department of Agriculture

SCDA will accept grant requests ranging from $20,000 to $200,000 from nonprofit organizations, commodity associations, state and local government agencies, colleges and universities. Grants are not available for projects that directly benefit or provide a profit to a single organization, institution or individual

5/15/2015

Farm To School Grant Program

USDA , Food and Nutrition Service

Funding is available to support school-based programs only. Eligible schools are considered pre-K-12 school food authorities (SFAs) that participate in the National School Lunch or Breakfast Programs and/or operate USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, Seamless Summer Option or Child and Adult Care Food Program on-site. Pre-K-12 non-profit private schools, charter schools, Indian tribal schools, and others that participate in the National School Lunch or Breakfast Programs, and/or operate USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, Seamless Summer Option or Child and Adult Care Food Program on-site, but are not associated with an SFA, are also eligible to apply. Eligible SFAs may apply for funding that spans the entire SFA, for a specific group of schools (e.g., only K-5 schools within an SFA), or for an individual school. In the case where an SFA exists, the application must come from the SFA and only one application per SFA is allowed.

Letter of Intent: 4/30/2015 Application: 5/20/2015

Specialty Crop Research Initiative

USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture

1862 Land-Grant Institutions, 1890 Land-Grant Institutions, 1994 Land-Grant Institutions, For-profit Organizations Other Than Small Businesses, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) IRS status, other than Institutions of Higher Ed, Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) IRS status, other than Institutions of Higher Ed, Other or Additional Information (See below),Private Institutions of Higher Ed, Small Business, State Agricultural Experiment Stations, State Controlled Institutions of Higher Ed

7/2/2015