USDA Partners to Improve Rural Water and Wastewater Infrastructure in 23 States including Montana

New Partnerships Support More Prosperous Futures for More than 73,000 People

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett visited the state today to announce that USDA is investing more than $124 million (PDF, 155.4 KB) to help rebuild and improve rural water infrastructure in 23 states. Five projects in Louisiana are receiving funding.

“Modern, reliable water infrastructure provides a foundation for economic growth and prosperity,” Hazlett said. “USDA’s partnerships with rural communities underscore Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s commitment to ensuring that rural places have the infrastructure needed to thrive.”

USDA is providing the funding through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. It can be used to finance drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.

Hazlett announced that the following projects in Louisiana will receive USDA funding:

  • The Poland Water Association, Inc. is receiving a $1 million loan and a $161,000 grant to construct two water wells. The booster station will be restored to service with a new chlorination facility and a pad-mounted natural gas generator to provide emergency power. The office building will be brought into compliance with the Architectural Barriers Act accessibility standard. Radio-read water meters will be installed to improve billing efficiency. The Poland Water Association, Inc. serves 909 customers in Rapides Parish.
  • The Alberta Water System, Inc. will use a $164,000 loan and a $1.5 million grant to construct an additional well. Water meters will be replaced with radio-read meters to reduce water loss. Carbon treatment systems will be added to both booster stations to mitigate disinfection byproducts. Generators will be added to both booster stations to provide emergency power supply. The Alberta Water System serves 1,858 customers in Bienville Parish. Additional funding includes a $30,000 Rural Development Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households grant and a $2,000 contribution from the water system.
  • The Lena Water System, Inc. will receive a $3 million loan to adjust the discharge pressure for the booster stations, construct two water wells and a ground storage tank with booster pumps, and install radio-read meters. The improvements will provide additional production and storage capacity to meet the System’s growing demand. Lena serves 1,185 customers in Rapides Parish.
  • The town of Delcambre will use a $291,000 loan and a $183,000 grant to upgrade water distribution lines that service residents in Vermilion Parish. Funds will also be used to install meters to prevent water loss. Delcambre’s water system serves approximately 762 residential customers and 70 commercial customers. In FY 2015, the project received a $1,722,000 USDA loan and a $1,179,220 USDA grant.
  • The Waterworks District No. 3 – Parish of St. Landry will receive a $500,000 loan to extend water lines under Three Mile Lake to serve the North Wilderness subdivision. The Water District currently serves 154 customers. The project will enable it to extend services to 116 new customers within St. Landry Parish.

Below are examples of other infrastructure projects across the nation that USDA is helping to support.

  • In Nettleton, Miss., the Cason Water District is receiving a $2.1 million loan and a $1.9 million grant to install surface water transmission lines from the Northeast Mississippi Water Supply District to the Cason Water District. A booster station, an elevated storage tank and larger distribution lines will also be installed. This project will correct water supply loss and accommodate future growth. The improvements will provide improved water service to 1,657 customers.
  • McLouth, Kan., is receiving a $1.3 million loan to improve the city’s water infrastructure. The project will replace approximately 9,400 feet of pipe and 4,100 feet of antiquated service line. In addition, 420 old water meters will be replaced with automatic meter readers and control panels at the water treatment facility. The upgrade will serve more than 860 residents.
  • The town of Black Oak, Ark., will use a $687,000 loan and a $1.9 million grant to construct a wastewater collection system for the town and the surrounding rural area. The new collection system will serve 135 residents. Most of the individual septic systems are malfunctioning. A public wastewater system that meets current health and sanitary standards also will be constructed.

The funding that USDA is announcing today will benefit communities in Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont and West Virginia.

In FY 2018, Congress provided a historic level of funding for water and wastewater infrastructure. The 2018 Omnibus spending bill includes $5.2 billion for USDA loans and grants, up from $1.8 billion in FY 2017. The bill also directs Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to make investments in rural communities with the greatest infrastructure needs.

Eligible rural communities and water districts can apply online for funding to maintain, modernize or build water and wastewater systems. They can visit the interactive RD Apply tool, or they can apply through one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices.

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.

To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

USDA Encourages Rural Communities, Water Districts to Apply for Loans to Improve, Rebuild Infrastructure; $4 Billion Available

Department’s Latest Investments to Benefit 165,000 People in Rural Communities in 24 States

WASHINGTON, July 30, 2018 – Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced a historic commitment by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to upgrade and rebuild rural water infrastructure.
“USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in building their futures,” Hazlett said. “All people – regardless of their zip code – need modern, reliable infrastructure to thrive, and we have found that when we address this need, many other challenges in rural places become much more manageable.”
Eligible rural communities and water districts can apply online for funding to maintain, modernize or build water and wastewater systems. They can visit the interactive RD Apply tool, or they can apply through one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices.
USDA is providing the funding through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. It can be used to finance drinking water, stormwater drainage, and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.
Below are a few examples of USDA’s latest investment (PDF, 162 KB) of $164 million for 54 projects nationwide:
  • Wadesboro, N.C., is receiving a $706,000 loan and an $815,000 grant to improve its water distribution system. The town will install 7,000 linear feet of eight- and 12-inch PVC and dip water main, and 11 hydrants and service re-connections. The project will benefit the town’s 2,012 residential users, 84 commercial users, eight industrial users and five institutional users. Wadesboro, population 5,841, is in Anson County.
  • The village of Greenview, Ill., is receiving a $4.9 million loan and a $3.7 million grant to construct a wastewater collection and treatment facility. The system will collect and convey wastewater via a centralized pumping station. Wastewater will be transferred to a contained mechanical treatment system. Treated wastewater will then be released to Grove Creek. This project will alleviate health hazards due to private septic or aeration systems that discharge effluent into drainage fields, causing raw sewage backups in homes during major rainfalls. The new system will serve the town’s 778 residents.
  • In Baudette, Minn., the Wheelers Point Sanitary District is receiving a $300,000 loan and a $638,000 grant to construct a sewer collection system. The District is on the shores of Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River in Lake of the Woods County in northern Minnesota. Homes and businesses in the district have individual septic systems that need to be replaced. If these systems were to fail, the contamination would affect the river and the lake. The state considers this project a priority due to the possibility of environmental contamination. The new system will protect the environment and area waters.
USDA is announcing investments today in Alabama, California, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
In FY 2018, Congress provided a historic level of funding for water and wastewater infrastructure. The 2018 Omnibus spending bill includes $5.2 billion for USDA loans and grants, up from $1.2 billion in FY 2017. The bill also directs Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to make investments in rural communities with the greatest infrastructure needs.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.
To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety, and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.
Source: USDA

USDA Assists Farmers Impacted by Unjustified Retaliation

(Washington, D.C., July 24, 2018) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will take several actions to assist farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation. President Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a short-term relief strategy to protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets, in the long run, to help American farmers compete globally.  Specifically, USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, which is in line with the estimated $11 billion impact of the unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods. These programs will assist agricultural producers to meet the costs of disrupted markets.

“This is a short-term solution to allow President Trump time to work on long-term trade deals to benefit agriculture and the entire U.S. economy,” Secretary Perdue said.  “The President promised to have the back of every American farmer and rancher, and he knows the importance of keeping our rural economy strong. Unfortunately, America’s hard-working agricultural producers have been treated unfairly by China’s illegal trading practices and have taken a disproportionate hit when it comes illegal retaliatory tariffs.  USDA will not stand by while our hard-working agricultural producers bear the brunt of unfriendly tariffs enacted by foreign nations. The programs we are announcing today help ensure our nation’s agriculture continues to feed the world and innovate to meet the demand.”

Background: Of the total unjustified retaliatory tariffs imposed on the United States, a disproportionate amount was targeted directly at American farmers. Trade damage from such retaliation has impacted a host of U.S. commodities, including field crops like soybeans and sorghum, livestock products like milk and pork, and many fruits, nuts, and other specialty crops. High tariffs disrupt normal marketing patterns, affecting prices and raising costs by forcing commodities to find new markets. Additionally, there is evidence that American goods shipped overseas are being slowed from reaching the market by unusually strict or cumbersome entry procedures, which can affect the quality and marketability of perishable crops.  This can boost marketing costs and discount our prices, and adversely affect our producers.  USDA will use the following programs to assist farmers:

  • The Market Facilitation Program, authorized under The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and administered by Farm Service Agency (FSA), will provide payments incrementally to producers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy, and hogs. This support will help farmers manage disrupted markets, deal with surplus commodities, and expand and develop new markets at home and abroad.
  • Additionally, USDA will use CCC Charter Act and other authorities to implement a Food Purchase and Distribution Program through the Agricultural Marketing Service to purchase unexpected surplus of affected commodities such as fruits, nuts, rice, legumes, beef, pork and milk for distribution to food banks and other nutrition programs.
  • Finally, the CCC will use its Charter Act authority for a Trade Promotion Program administered by the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) in conjunction with the private sector to assist in developing new export markets for our farm products.

Nearly $2 Billion Now Available for Eligible Producers Affected by 2017 Hurricanes and Wildfires

WASHINGTON, July 16, 2018 – Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced that agricultural producers affected by hurricanes and wildfires in 2017 now may apply for assistance to help recover and rebuild their farming operations. Sign up begins July 16, 2018, and continues through November 16, 2018.

“Hurricanes and wildfires caused billions of dollars in losses to America’s farmers last year. Our objective is to get relief funds into the hands of eligible producers as quickly as possible,” said Secretary Perdue. “We are making immediate, initial payments of up to 50 percent of the calculated assistance so producers can pay their bills.”

Additional payments will be issued, if funds remain available, later in the year.

The program, known as the 2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program (2017 WHIP) was authorized by Congress earlier this year by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.

Eligible crops, trees, bushes, or vines, located in a county declared in a Presidential Emergency Disaster Declaration or Secretarial Disaster Designation as a primary county are eligible for assistance if the producer suffered a loss as a result of a 2017 hurricane. Also, losses located in a county not designated as a primary county may be eligible if the producer provides documentation showing that the loss was due to a hurricane or wildfire in 2017. A list of counties that received qualifying hurricane declarations and designations is available at www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/disaster-assistance-program/wildfires-and-hurricanes-indemnity-program/index. Eligibility is determined by Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees.

Agricultural production losses due to conditions caused by last year’s wildfires and hurricanes, including excessive rain, high winds, flooding, mudslides, fire, and heavy smoke, could qualify for assistance through the program. Typically, 2017 WHIP is only designed to provide assistance for production losses, however, if quality was taken into consideration under the insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) policy, where production was further adjusted, the adjusted production will be used in calculating assistance under this program.

Eligible crops include those for which federal crop insurance or NAP coverage is available, excluding crops intended for grazing. A list of crops covered by crop insurance is available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Actuarial Information Browser at webapp.rma.usda.gov/apps/actuarialinformationbrowser.

Eligibility will be determined for each producer based on the size of the loss and the level of insurance coverage elected by the producer. A WHIP factor will be determined for each crop based on the producer’s coverage level. Producers who elected higher coverage levels will receive a higher WHIP factor.

The 2017 WHIP payment factor ranges from 65 percent to 95 percent, depending upon the level of crop insurance coverage or NAP coverage that a producer obtained for the crop. Producers who did not insure their crops in 2017 will receive 65 percent of the expected value of the crop. Insured producers will receive between 70 percent and 95 percent of expected value; those who purchased the highest levels of coverage will receive 95-percent coverage.

Each eligible producer requesting 2017 WHIP benefits will be subject to a payment limitation of either $125,000 or $900,000, depending upon their average adjusted gross income, which will be verified. The payment limit is $125,000 if less than 75 percent of the person or legal entity’s average adjusted gross income is average adjusted gross farm income. The payment limit is $900,000 if 75 percent or more of the average adjusted gross income of the person or legal entity is average adjusted gross farm income.

Both insured and uninsured producers are eligible to apply for 2017 WHIP. However, all producers receiving 2017 WHIP payments will be required to purchase crop insurance and/or NAP, at the 60 percent coverage level or higher, for the next two available crop years to meet statutory requirements. Producers who fail to purchase crop insurance for the next two applicable years will be required to pay back the 2017 WHIP payment.

To help expedite payments, a producer who does not have records established at the local USDA service center are encouraged to do so early in the process. To establish a record for a farm, a producer needs:

  • Proof of identity: driver’s license and Social Security number/card;
  • Copy of recorder deed, survey plat, rental, or lease agreement of the land. A producer does not have to own property to participate in FSA programs;
  • Corporation, estate, or trust documents, if applicable

Once signup begins, a producer will be asked to provide verifiable and reliable production records. If a producer is unable to provide production records, USDA will calculate the yield based on the county average yield. A producer with this information on file does not need to provide the information again.

For more information on FSA disaster assistance programs, please contact your local USDA service center or visit www.farmers.gov/recover/whip.

Source: USDA

USDA Report Highlights Benefits of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act for Farmers

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today highlighted a new report showing the positive impacts of President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) on American farms. Six months after the President signed the tax cuts and reforms into law, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) has released a report, titled “Estimated Effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Farms and Farm Households.”  The report examines in detail how the historic tax cuts and reforms will alleviate the tax burden on American farms to help them grow and prosper.  According to the report, average tax rates are expected to decline across all farm sizes and commodity specializations and fewer farm estates will be subject to the Death Tax.

“Most family farms are run as small businesses, and they should be able to keep more of what they earn to reinvest in their operations and take care of their families,” Perdue said.  “Simplifying the tax code and easing the burden on farmers will free them up to make choices for themselves, create jobs, and boost the overall American economy.  This report just shows what we knew all along: the tax cuts and reforms will benefit farmers.”

The TCJA significantly reformed the Federal income tax system, including individual and business income tax rates, business expenses, taxable income deductions, and the alternative minimum tax. The TCJA also doubled the Federal estate tax exclusion. The USDA ERS report estimates the impact of current Federal income tax provisions on farm households by using 2016 tax-year data.

Montana Department of Agriculture Awarded USDA Farm to School Grant

Funding will help schools with procurement, distribution of local foods

Helena, Mont. – Producers and students throughout Montana have reason to celebrate, as the Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) has been awarded a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to enhance farm to school efforts throughout the state. MDA was awarded $99,980 and will partner with the National Center for Appropriate Technology and Montana Farm to School to increase the procurement and distribution of local food in K-12 schools in Montana.

“Farm to school initiatives continue to grow throughout Montana and this grant will build upon those efforts,” said Ben Thomas, Director of MDA. “When we can give our producers another market opportunity, while also providing our students with nutritious, local foods, everyone wins.”

The project will focus on three school districts in Montana: Browning, Fort Benton, and Malta. Each of these districts are in the early stages of implementing farm to school activities but have limited access to local foods. Sourcing and access to Montana foods is one of the key challenges to farm to school initiatives in Montana. The Montana Farm to School Leadership Team will research distribution opportunities and challenges on a statewide level while learning first-hand from the participating school districts. By coordinating with state-level farm to school partners, including supply-chain stakeholders, and bringing together local teams in each of the communities, the project will create a plan that will impact the entire state.

“By working with local-level teams in these communities, we expect to expand connectivity and distribution of local foods throughout the state, especially in north and eastern Montana,” said Aubree Roth, Montana Farm to School Coordinator, Montana Team Nutrition. “Our larger goal here is to take the lessons learned from this project, and scale it up so that we can better implement these activities on a state-wide level.”

The Montana Farm to School Leadership Team, sponsored by Montana Office of Public Instruction, works through partnerships across the state to build farm to school initiatives that help kids eat healthy, connect kids with agriculture and nutrition through education, support Montana farmers and food producers, foster economic vitality, and strengthen communities.

The Montana Department of Agriculture’s mission is to protect producers and consumers, and to enhance and develop agriculture and allied industries. For more information on the Montana Department of Agriculture, visit www.agr.mt.gov.

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USDA Resumes Continuous Conservation Reserve Program Enrollment

One-Year Extension Available to Holders of Many Expiring Contracts through Continuous Signup

As part of a 33-year effort to protect sensitive lands and improve water quality and wildlife habitat on private lands, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will resume accepting applications for the voluntary Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Eligible farmers, ranchers, and private landowners can sign up at their local Farm Service Agency (FSA)office between June 4 and Aug. 17, 2018.

“The Conservation Reserve Program is an important component of the suite of voluntary conservation programs USDA makes available to agricultural producers, benefiting both the land and wildlife. On the road, I often hear firsthand how popular CRP is for our recreational sector; hunters, fishermen, conservationists and bird watchers,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. “CRP also is a powerful tool to encourage agricultural producers to set aside unproductive, marginal lands that should not be farmed to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, provide habitat for wildlife and boost soil health.”

FSA stopped accepting applications last fall for the CRP continuous signup (excluding applications for the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and CRP grasslands). This pause allowed USDA to review available acres and avoid exceeding the 24 million-acre CRP cap set by the 2014 Farm Bill. New limited practice availability and short sign up period helps ensure that landowners with the most sensitive acreage will enroll in the program and avoid unintended competition with new and beginning farmers seeking leases. CRP enrollment currently is about 22.7 million acres.

2018 Signup for CRP

For this year’s signup, limited priority practices are available for continuous enrollment. They include grassed waterways, filter strips, riparian buffers, wetland restoration and others. To view a full list of practices, please visit the CRP Continuous Enrollment Period page.

FSA will use updated soil rental rates to make annual rental payments, reflecting current values. It will not offer incentive payments as part of the new signup.

USDA will not open a general signup this year, however, a one-year extension will be offered to existing CRP participants with expiring CRP contracts of 14 years or less. Producers eligible for an extension will receive a letter with more information.

CRP Grasslands

Additionally, FSA established new ranking criteria for CRP Grasslands. To guarantee all CRP grasslands offers are treated equally, applicants who previously applied will be asked to reapply using the new ranking criteria. Producers with pending applications will receive a letter providing the options.

About CRP

In return for enrolling land in CRP, USDA, through FSA on behalf of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), provides participants with annual rental payments and cost-share assistance. Landowners enter into contracts that last between 10 and 15 years. CRP pays producers who remove sensitive lands from production and plant certain grasses, shrubs and trees that improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and increase wildlife habitat.

Signed into law by President Reagan in 1985, CRP is one of the largest private-lands conservation programs in the United States. Thanks to voluntary participation by farmers, ranchers and private landowners, CRP has improved water quality, reduced soil erosion and increased habitat for endangered and threatened species.

The new changes to CRP do not impact the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, a related program offered by CCC and state partners.

Producers wanting to apply for the CRP continuous signup or CRP grasslands should contact their USDA service center. To locate your local FSA office, visit www.farmers.gov. More information on CRP can be found at www.fsa.usda.gov/crp.

Secretary Perdue Applauds Red Tape Reduction for Farmers

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue applauded the removal of a burdensome regulation that has long plagued family farms. The rule requiring producers to obtain Data Universal Number System (DUNS) and System for Award Management (SAM) numbers to participate in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs has been eliminated. Congress included this repeal in the FY 2018 Omnibus spending package, USDA’s official regulatory change will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow.

“I’m pleased Congress helped us to achieve one of our regulatory goals of cutting red tape for producers utilizing conservation programs by exempting them from SAM and DUNS requirements,” Secretary Perdue said. “These numbers were designed for billion-dollar government contractors, not everyday farmers trying to support their families. These changes help streamline the customer experience for farmers, which is a top priority at USDA.”

Prior to this rule change in the 2018 Omnibus spending bill, DUNS and SAM numbers were required for any federal contract application. This became an onerous regulation for small farms when it was intended for large government contractors. DUNS and SAM registration is still required for the following:

  • Partnership agreements entered through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
  • All agreements with eligible entities under the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program (FRPP)
  • Agreements under the Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) component of ACEP.
  • Partnership agreements under the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP) component of ACEP-Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE).
  • Watershed operations agreements with project sponsors.
  • Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) agreements with project sponsors, including Recovery and Floodplain Easements.
  • All cooperative, contribution, interagency, or partnership agreements of Federal contracts used by NRCS to procure goods or services.

NRCS advises participants in its programs to ignore any emails, phone calls or other communications from third-party vendors offering assistance for registering in SAMS or applying for a DUNS number.

To learn more about NRCS financial and technical assistance, go to www.nrcs.usda.gov.

 

Source: USDA

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Secretary Perdue Names FSA Administrator

From USDA: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the appointment of Richard Fordyce to serve as Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA). In his role, Fordyce will provide leadership for FSA and its mission to support agricultural production across America through a network of over 2,100 county and 50 state offices.

“As a fourth-generation farmer, Richard brings firsthand knowledge and experience to this role,” Secretary Sonny Perdue said. “I am confident that he will continue to help USDA become the most efficient, effective customer-focused agency in the federal government as he leads this customer-focused mission area.”

Richard Fordyce most recently served as State Executive Director for FSA in Missouri. Prior to his appointment by the Trump Administration, Fordyce served as the director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture from 2013 to 2017. In 2015, Fordyce was awarded the Missouri Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award and the Agricultural Leaders of Tomorrow Alumnus of the Year. He and his wife, Renee, have two children and grow soybeans, corn and beef cattle on the family farm.

Secretaries Perdue and Zinke Join Forces to Combat 2018 Wildfire Season

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today hosted a fire briefing for Members of Congress at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to hear the forecast for this year’s wildfire season. Following the meeting, the secretaries sent a memorandum to wildland fire leadership highlighting the importance of inter-departmental collaboration to increase firefighter, public, and community safety as the 2018 wildfire season approaches. The 2017 wildfire season was one of the most challenging years on record, stressing the need for the USDA and the Department of the Interior to work together in combating this year’s fires.

“As we begin this year’s fire season, we want to remind everyone that the protection of firefighters and public safety is the single highest priority in every fire management activity and decision that we make,” Perdue and Zinke said. “Last year we lost 14 wildland firefighters who sacrificed their own lives to protect the lives of others and that is something we hope to prevent this year.”

“Additionally, both Departments will continue to collaborate to ensure all firefighting assets are being used in an efficient and effective manner. It is essential that firefighters have the right tools, resources, and flexibility to allow them to do their jobs safely. As we explore opportunities to improve efficiencies, we will look to integrate technology, such as the use of unmanned aircraft systems, into our operations and capitalize on other advancements to promote firefighter safety, support planning, and protect communities.”

To view the memorandum in its entirety, please click here.