To protect the integrity of the organic industry and its products, farms must certify that their operations are following USDA organic regulations. The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service offers farms resources to help offset the certification costs.
This is the seventh installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations.
Annual organic certification fees allow certifiers to carry out their responsibilities. These fees vary according to an operation’s size and other variables. In light of that, the USDA organic cost share programs help to ensure that these costs don’t discourage those wanting to pursue organic certification. The programs make certification more affordable by reimbursing producers and handlers for as much as 75%—up to a maximum of $750 a year—for their certification costs. Eligible costs include application fees, inspection fees, travel for certification inspectors, and even postage. Read more »
Northeast Regional Administrator, James Arena-DeRosa serves a meal from the NYC food truck at Orchard Beach in the Bronx.
For most children, summertime means school vacation, family trips and beach days, but for many, it also means losing the two free or reduced-price meals provided at school. Read more »
Every day, the Department of Agriculture is hard at work to strengthen the rural economy and grow our rural communities.
Right now we continue to focus on responding to the drought that’s impacting much of our nation. My thoughts remain with those who are affected, and President Obama and I will continue doing all we can to help. Unfortunately the disaster programs contained in the 2008 Farm Bill have already expired, leaving us with limited tools – and the House of Representatives still has not passed a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill, or any other drought assistance.
The Obama Administration continues to call on Congress to give USDA the tools it needs to help those impacted by drought. Read more »
A building that will stand against natural disaster for the safety of the Corn Creek District, Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota, is being partially funded through a grant from USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities Economic Impact Initiative (EII). While providing a safe haven for the residents, the community building will also provide a space for health care and emergency services and a facility for community youth.
If a community building is going to offer so much in integral services for the area, it should also be energy efficient. The foam forms for the walls will be filled with concrete and will add greatly to the insulation and temperature control of the building. Read more »
Gopher tortoise laying eggs on freshly cultivated field.
Gopher tortoises are fairly elusive creatures. Usually the only sign you see of them is their burrows or ravaged foliage.
But recently a Mobile, Ala., tortoise allowed Marshall Colburn, a Soil Conservation Technician with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a rare, up-close-and-personal moment as she laid her eggs in a freshly cultivated field. Read more »
You may start out wanting to talk to Leila Pinchot about a U.S. Forest Service icon, but the great granddaughter of Gifford Pinchot has much more to say about the future of another legend, the American chestnut.
One of the seminal figures in world conservation, Gifford Pinchot founded and served as the first chief of the U.S. Forest Service. The eastern forests we know today are distinctly different than the forests Gifford Pinchot would have known 100 years ago – they are missing the American chestnut, which dominated forests in the eastern United States.
Once called the sequoia of the east, the massive tree grew fast and could reach heights of 140 feet. American chestnut not only provided a seemingly endless supply of rot resistant wood, its fruit also fed inhabitants of the eastern United States for millennia. A non-native fungus caused the chestnut blight that killed an estimated 4 billion trees by the middle of the 20th century. Read more »