- February 24, 2015: deadline to submit pre-proposals for USDA’s Conservation Innovation Grants for “environmental markets and conservation projects that engage agricultural producers.” Details: http://go.usa.gov/4Kvx Sylvia Rainford 202/720-2536.
- February 27, 2015 deadline for Conservation Stewardship Program for ranchers and forest landowners. Applications should be submitted to local Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) offices. Details: www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted
- February 27, 2015, deadline to submit Federal Specialty Crop Block Grant proposals to Morgan Sheffield, PDA Bureau of Market Development 717/787-3568.
- March 2, 2015: Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence for “projects that promote environmental stewardship and economic development in the state.” Projects must have been completed between August 1, 2013 and July 31, 2014. Example areas: Innovative Technology; Energy Solutions; Environmental Education; Watershed Restoration. Only electronic nominations (including self) will be accepted. Details: http://files.dep.state.pa.us/AboutDEP/AwardsAndInnovation/GovernorAwardForEnvExcellence/2015%20GAEE%20Guidelines%20Final.pdf
- March 9, 2015: deadline for Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program. REAP provides tax credits to agricultural producers who install best management practices or purchase on-farm no-till equipment that reduces soil erosion and sedimentation in PA’s streams and rivers. Applications are available at www.pda.state.pa.us/REAP under ‘Forms’ or Joel Semke, State Conservation Commission 717/705-4032.
- March 15, 2015: Crop Insurance enrollment deadline for new AGR-Lite whole farm revenue new applications; spring barley, corn, forage seeding (spring), grain sorghum, oats (spring), soybeans, tobacco. (Thanks to Penn State Professor of Agricultural Economics Jayson Harper) PDA contact is Jordan Stasyszn 717/6901
In the December 6 PA Bulletin, the PA Department of Agriculture published details regarding funding for PA agricultural organizations which conduct agricultural fairs and organizations that contribute to the development of agriculture and agribusinesses as well as eligible agriculture youth groups. Among those included are horse racing organizations, 4-H, and FFA county organizations. A link to the Notice follows:
USDA is seeking applications from small businesses and agricultural producers for funding (both loans and grants) to make energy efficiency improvements or to install renewable energy systems. The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) has $12.3 million in grants and $57.8 million in loan guarantees. Businesses not involved directly in production agriculture may also apply.
Mentioned in the USDA announcement was a PA veterinary practice in Curryville, Blair County, PA which received a $10,525 REAP grant to install solar panels on his roof. Details: Dawn Bonsell 717-237-2286 or Jay Fletcher 202/690-0498.
USDA May 8 announced that $78 million in Farm Bill resources for local and regional food systems including farmers markets, processing facilities, distribution services and other local food business enterprises is available.
This funding comes from Rural Development Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program (B&I) and the Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) Farmers Market and Local Foods Promotion Program. AMS’ deadline is June 20, 2014.
USDA will accept applications for easements until April 18, 2014 from landowners who want to enroll floodplains impacted by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. If approved, the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will purchase the easements on eligible lands and restore the area to natural conditions.
In addition to being hit by Sandy, the land must have been damaged by flooding at least twice in the past ten years or once in the last calendar year. Also possibly eligible is land impacted by a dam breach or where the purchase would contribute to the restoration of flood storage or flow, provide for erosion control, or improve the practical management of the floodplain easement.
Click here for details and link to application forms. So far, awards have gone to NY ($7.5 million), CT ($7.5 million), and NJ ($4.1 million).