Locally or Regionally Produced Agricultural Food Products
The Locally or Regionally Produced Agricultural Food Products provision, under the Business and Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loan Program, is designed to help facilitate the production, processing, and distribution of locally and regionally produced agricultural food products. Although demand exists for locally and regionally produced foods, producers in many parts of the country have difficulties accessing markets and processing facilities as well as establishing distribution channels. In addition, some retail outlets are less willing to buy from smaller volume producers because the volume of food that the producers can supply at any one time is insufficient. The Locally or Regionally Produced Agricultural Food Products provision provides loan guarantees for the purpose of establishing or facilitating enterprises that process, distribute, aggregate, store, and market locally or regionally produced agricultural food products to support community development and farm and ranch income. For purposes of this provision under the B&I Guaranteed Loan Program, 7 U.S.C. 1932(g)(9) provides: ``The term `locally or regionally produced agricultural food product' means any agricultural food product that is raised, produced, and distributed in the locality or region in which the final product is marketed, so that the total distance that the product is transported is less than 400 miles from the origin of the product, or in the State in which the product is produced.'' Food products could be raw, cooked, or a processed edible substance, beverages, or ingredients used or intended for use or for sale in whole or in part for human consumption. To be eligible for funding through the Locally or Regionally Produced Agricultural Food Products provision, projects must ensure that there is an agreement that the local or regional nature of the food product is conveyed to the end consumer. If the end product is sold at a grocery retail facility or institution, local products must be identified to the consumer with a sticker, sign, or other indicator of the product's local or regional origin. The Locally or Regionally Produced Agricultural Food Products provision gives priority to the financing of projects that provide a benefit to underserved communities. An underserved community is defined as a community (including an urban or rural community and an Indian tribal community) that has limited access to affordable, healthy foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, in grocery retail stores or farmer to consumer direct markets AND has a high rate of hunger or food insecurity or a high poverty rate as determined by the Secretary. Applicants that serve schools may also be eligible. Projects that have components that benefit underserved communities will receive priority. For the purpose of this provision, projects that are physically located in an urban area are eligible for priority funding if the project provides a clear benefit to an underserved community by increasing that underserved community's access to affordable, healthy, locally, or regionally produced foods. For example, an aggregation and distribution center that is physically located in an urban area would be eligible for priority funding if a meaningful portion of the aggregated product is made available to consumers at grocery retail establishments located within the underserved community or to food banks, schools, or other institutions serving low-income populations, thus providing a benefit to the underserved community. An aggregation and distribution center in an urban area would not be eligible for priority funding under the provision if it distributes all of its food to high-end markets. When there is a tie in priority scoring, projects that serve underserved communities will be funded over those that do not serve underserved communities. Through Fiscal Year 2018, the Agency is required to reserve not less than 5 percent of the funds available to the B&I program until April 1 of each year for entities that establish and facilitate the processing, distributing, aggregating, storing, and marketing of locally or regionally produced agricultural food products. The Agency will also continue to fund local or regionally produced agricultural food products projects after the April 1 reserve expires. Requirements for submission can be found in 7 CFR, part 4279, subpart B.
Inviting Applications for Rural Cooperative Development Grants
USDA announces the availability of grants through the Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) Program for Fiscal Year 2014. Pursuant to The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 (H.R. 3547) approximately $5.8 million is available. We are requesting proposals from applicants interested in improving the economic condition of rural areas through cooperative development. Eligible applicants include a non-profit corporation or an institution of higher education. Applications are limited to one per applicant for a maximum of $200,000, and matching funds are required. The grant period is limited to a one-year timeframe.
Inviting Applications for Small Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grants
The Rural Business-Cooperative Service announces the availability of $3,000,000, in competitive grant funds for the FY 2014 Small Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grants (SSDPG) program as authorized by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014. We are requesting proposals from applicants who will provide technical assistance to small, socially-disadvantaged agricultural producers in rural areas. Eligible applicants include Cooperatives, Groups of Cooperatives, and Cooperative Development Centers. The maximum award per grant is $200,000. The grant period is limited to a one-year timeframe.
Codex Alimentarius Commission: Meeting of the Codex Alimentarius Commission
The Office of the Under Secretary for Food Safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is sponsoring a public meeting on June 18, 2014. The objective of the public meeting is to provide information and receive public comments on agenda items and draft United States positions to be discussed at the Thirty-seventh session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), taking place in Geneva, Switzerland July 14-18, 2014. The Under Secretary for Food Safety recognizes the importance of providing interested parties the opportunity to obtain background information on the 37th session of the CAC and to address items on the agenda.
Notice of Intent; Request for Comments on Adoption of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Bayou Meto Basin General Reevaluation Report and Final Environmental Impact Statement, Arkansas, Jefferson, Lonoke, Prairie and Pulaski Counties, Arkansas
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is giving notice of its intent to adopt the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE) existing general reevaluation report and final environmental impact statement (GRR/EIS) for the Bayou Meto Basin, Arkansas project (project). RUS is considering providing funding to the applicant, the Bayou Meto Water Management District (BMWMD), to construct a portion of the project consisting of activities that have been identified, designed and reviewed under the USACE's existing GRR/EIS. Based on RUS' independent evaluation, adoption of the GRR/EIS would meet the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and RUS regulations and guidance for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). To fulfill our NEPA requirements and support a funding decision, we are recirculating the GRR/EIS for written public comment via this notice, in accordance with CEQ and RUS adoption guidelines.
Notice of Intent; Request for Comments on Adoption of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Grand Prairie Area Demonstration Project General Reevaluation Report and Final Environmental Impact Statement, Arkansas, Lonoke, Monroe and Prairie Counties, AR
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture is giving notice of its intent to adopt the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE) existing general reevaluation report and final environmental impact statement (GRR/EIS) for the Grand Prairie Area Demonstration Project, Arkansas (project). RUS is considering providing funding to the applicant, the White River Regional Irrigation Water Distribution District (WRID) to construct a portion of the project consisting of activities that have been identified, designed and reviewed under the Corps' existing GRR/EIS. Based on independent RUS evaluation, adoption of the GRR/EIS would meet the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and RUS regulations and guidance for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). To fulfill RUS's NEPA requirements and support a funding decision, we are recirculating the GRR/EIS for written public comment via this notice, in accordance with CEQ and RUS adoption guidelines.
Revision of Land Management Plan for the Francis Marion National Forest, SC
As directed by the National Forest Management Act (NFMA), the U.S. Forest Service is preparing the Francis Marion's revised land management plan (forest plan) and will also prepare an EIS) for this revised forest plan. This notice briefly describes the nature of the decision to be made, a proposed action based on the preliminary identified need to change the existing plan and information concerning public participation. It also provides estimated dates for filing the EIS and the name and address of the responsible agency official and the individuals who can provide additional information. Finally, this notice identifies the applicable planning rule that will be used for completing this plan revision. The revised forest plan will supersede the existing forest plan that was approved by the Regional Forester in December 1995. The existing forest plan will remain in effect until the revised forest plan takes effect.
Willamette National Forest, McKenzie River Ranger District; Oregon; Goose Project
We propose to commercially harvest approximately 2,134 acres, reduce hazardous fuels through non-commercial thinning on ~588 acres, and implement understory prescribe fire on ~80 to ~679 acres within the McKenzie Bridge Wildland-Urban Interface. Commercial harvest treatments would be comprised of variable density thinning on ~2,085 acres (that includes gap creations and no-cut leave areas) and regeneration harvest on ~49 acres (through a two-aged system that would allow for the regeneration of younger trees underneath residual trees left from the original canopy). The proposed action would also include maintenance of approximately 43 miles of road and creation of approximately 8 miles of temporary roads. The project area surrounds the community of McKenzie Bridge and is intermixed with private and national forest lands. The proposed project would manage stands to improve stand conditions: Diversity, density, and structure; reduce hazardous fuel levels in the McKenzie Bridge Wildland-Urban Interface; and provide for a sustainable supply of timber products from within the project area.
Environmental Impact Statement for the Power Fire, Eldorado National Forest
The Eldorado National Forest will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to reforest portions of the Power Fire as well as manage existing plantations within the Power Fire. The EIS will analyze planting of small trees, mechanical and chemical site preparation for planting, mechanical and chemical removal of competing vegetation, control of invasive plant species, and oak stand improvement.