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OAO Stakeholder Updates

Didn't sign up on the mailing list until today? Check out previously e-mailed news and information.

2012 April 23 - OAO Stakeholder Update: Farm to School RFP

This stakeholder update provided by the USDA Office of Advocacy and Outreach. E-mails are sent out periodically and can be found on our website at www.outreach.usda.gov.

From: Vo, Thu - FNS
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2012 1:30 PM
To: Parker, Carolyn - OSEC; Abebe, Yeshimebet - OSEC
Cc: Mitchell, Larry - OSEC; Eldridge, Theo - OSEC; Brayboy, Stacey - FNS
Subject: Farm to School RFP

Please disseminate the following information to your stakeholders and constituents/minority farmers regarding the Farm to School RFP.  They can contact our regional offices directly for additional questions or assistance.  I have attached our regional office contact information and the RFP to this email.  However, they should visit the website for additional information (http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/f2s/f2_grant_program.htm).  Thanks.
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The Farm to School Grant Program is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which authorized and funded USDA to assist eligible entities, through grants and technical assistance, in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. The new investments will assist schools in procuring food from local producers. Farm to school initiatives can also include agriculture and nutrition education efforts such as school gardens, field trips to local farms, and cooking classes.
These grants, administered by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), will help schools respond to the growing demand for locally sourced foods and increase market opportunities for producers and food businesses, including food processors, manufacturers, distributors and other value-added operations.
To fulfill the farm to school mandate in the HHFKA, effective October 1, 2012, $5 million will be provided to USDA on an annual basis to support grants, technical assistance, and the Federal administrative costs related to USDA’s farm to school program. In this first funding cycle, FNS anticipates awarding up to $3.5 million in grants, while the remaining $1.5 million will support a combination of training and technical assistance, administrative costs, and/or additional farm to school grants.
Letters of Intent are suggested but not required by May 18, 2012, while proposals are due June 15, 2012. To assist eligible entities in preparing proposals, USDA will host a webinar related to Implementation grants on May 15th at 1:00 pm EST and a webinar related to Planning grants on May 17th at 1:00 pm EST. For more information on webinars, the farm to school grant program, or USDA’s farm to school efforts in general, please visit the USDA Farm to School website.
Please contact our regional offices if you have additional questions, their contact information is attached.

http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/f2s/f2_grant_program.htm

 

Thu Vo
Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff
Office of the Administrator
Food and Nutrition Service
3101 Park Center Drive, Suite 906
Alexandria, Virginia 22302
Phone: (703) 605-4717
Fax: (703) 305-2908
Thu.vo@fns.usda.gov

 

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This stakeholder update is a compilation of USDA notices. E-mails are sent out periodically and can be found on our website at www.outreach.usda.gov.

2012 March 26 - Farm Service Agency - Highlights

This stakeholder update is a compilation of USDA notices. E-mails are sent out periodically and can be found on our website at www.outreach.usda.gov.

 

Release No. 0097.12
Contact:
USDA Office of Communications (202) 720-4623
USDA Warns of Fraudulent Letters
WASHINGTON, March 16, 2012--USDA officials learned late Friday afternoon, March 16th, 2012, that fraudulent letters are being sent by FAX to individuals and businesses in at least four states. The letters purportedly come from a USDA procurement officer and seek personal information. These letters are false and in no case should a recipient respond with personal and financial information. The fraudulent letters bear USDA's logo and seal and are signed by an individual identified as "Frank Rutenberg" using a title of "Senior Procurement Officer". Letters have been received by FAX in Alabama, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, but may have also been sent to other states. Recipients should not respond and should not supply the requested information. USDA is investigating this matter through the Office of the Inspector General.

If you suspect you have received such a letter or have questions please contact USDA at: procurement.policy@dm.usda.gov or call 202-720-9448.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272(voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

Ranchers Take Leap to Come Into Their Own
03/16/2012 12:01 PM EDT

RC Crutcher and wife Claudia began their own ranching operation with the help of the Farm Service Agency. RC Crutcher, a fourth generation rancher, grew up ranching with his parents on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation in Owyhee, Nev. RC and his wife Claudia, their two daughters, Journie and Paisley, love the ranching life. So when RC and his family decided to branch off on their own, they turned to the Farm Service Agency. “We helped RC and his family to get started ranching on their own,” said Farm Loan Specialist Chris Wood. “We provided credit for annual operating expenses...

Youth Loan Hatches First Generation Chicken Farmer
03/15/2012 10:37 AM EDT

High School student Wesley Davis came home from the county fair one summer with a chicken. Despite not living on a farm or having a family steeped in the farming tradition, Davis used a $5,000 FSA Youth Loan to expanded his single chicken operation into 250 free-range hens that produce nearly 20 dozen eggs a day. Working off of two acres of land in West Virginia, Davis sells his eggs to local residents and nine schools in the Mason County school district. Read more (Farm & Dairy).

How One Pumpkin Seed Began Educating an Entire Community
03/13/2012 12:54 PM EDT

The Gronski family expanded from pumpkins to row crops and use their land to educate the community about farming and food. by Cally Ehle, Wisconsin Farm Service Agency It all started with a little red wagon and six pumpkins. Growing up on his family’s farm in Suamico, Wis., Brian Gronski’s family had a large garden and five acres of pick your own raspberries. One year, Gronski’s father provided his sons with a small spot to grow their own vegetables, which resulted in six pumpkins. The boys decided to load their bounty into a little red wagon and haul it down...

Vilsack: Thank You to American Agriculture
03/09/2012 01:52 PM EST

America’s farmers, ranchers and growers are some of our nation’s greatest assets. Not only do we rely on agriculture for our food, feed, fiber, and fuel, our agricultural producers preserve our environment, and help drive our national economy. As I travel the country, I often ask folks when they last took a moment to thank or appreciate a farmer. The truth is that we owe a debt of gratitude to the hard working men and women who provide us – and much of the world – with a safe, reliable, affordable, and abundant food supply. Last week, USDA and others...

Obama Administration Releases New $15 million Federal Funding Opportunity to Strengthen Rural Economies and Create Jobs 13 federal agencies leverage resources to strengthen regional industry clusters and advance rural economies; deadline for applications is May 9, 2012
Rural Jobs Accelerator Prospective Applicant Webinar
Tuesday, March 20, 2012,
3:00 – 4:30 p.m. EDT
Click here to register
The Obama Administration today announced a $15 million multi-agency Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator challenge to spur job creation and economic growth in distressed rural communities. This competition, which is being funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Delta Regional Authority (DRA), and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), was designed by the Taskforce for the Advancement of Regional Innovation Clusters and the White House Rural Council.

The Rural Jobs Accelerator Challenge is expected to give out approximately 20 awards, depending on the number of eligible applications. To be eligible for an award, projects must benefit rural communities, but the applicant is not required to be located in a rural area. Nonprofits, higher education institutions, tribes and state and local governments can collaborate to apply for funding. Although businesses are not eligible to apply directly, applicants can also partner with the private sector on implementation.

In addition to the four funding partners the initiative is supported by nine other Federal agencies: Commerce's U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership; Denali Commission; U.S. Department of Education; U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration; U.S. Department of Energy; Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; and the Small Business Administration.

The deadline for applications is May 9, 2012 and guidelines for submissions are accessible here.
Click here to read press release. Click here to access FFO on grants.gov.

The Federal Funding Opportunity for the Rural Jobs Accelerator Innovation Challenge was announced today. 
Many thanks for agreeing to help in getting word out on this unique opportunity.  Please send the information below and the links to your contacts, constituents, and any other organizations that you think will be interested in applying for funding.

March 8, 2012.  The Obama Administration today announced a $15 million multi-agency Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator challenge to spur job creation and economic growth in distressed rural communities. This competition, which is being funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Delta Regional Authority (DRA), and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), was designed by the Taskforce for the Advancement of Regional Innovation Clusters and the White House Rural Council.

The Rural Jobs Accelerator Challenge is expected to give out approximately 20 awards, depending on the number of eligible applications. To be eligible for an award, projects must benefit rural communities, but the applicant is not required to be located in a rural area. Nonprofits, higher education institutions, tribes and state and local governments can collaborate to apply for funding. Although businesses are not eligible to apply directly, applicants can also partner with the private sector on implementation.

The website link below contains full information about this funding opportunity, information and tools for prospective applicants, invitation to a webinar which will be held on March 20, 2012 from 3:00 – 4:30 pm EDT, and links to Grants.gov and partnering agencies.
Press Release:  http://content.govdelivery.com/bulletins/gd/USDAOC-327129
Website for Information:  http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RuralJobsAccelerator.html

FSA Helps Arkansas Widow Carry On Husband’s Legacy
03/02/2012 10:46 AM EST
Curtistene Jackson has benefited from several FSA programs to help keep the family farm operating. by J. Latrice Hill, FSA Outreach Program Lead Curtistene Jackson knows all too well the challenges farming can bring. Being a socially disadvantaged female farming in Arkansas has not been easy. Ever since her late husband Lawrence passed away in 2008, Curtistine, along with their son William, has taken the reins of the Jackson family farm. The Jacksons have owned their farm since 1990. Jackson first started working on the family farm at the age of 18. The legacy he started with his vegetable and...

FSA Programs Credited for Helping New Generation of Farmers
02/28/2012 09:01 AM EST
Beginning farmers in Idaho are praising the Farm Service Agency for helping them get started. With the high cost of land and low capital, young farmers are finding it difficult to obtain loans to get into the business. To help this new generation of farmers, FSA will guarantee 90 percent to a land owner or older farmer who sells their land to someone buying their first farm. View the video (Localnews8.com).

Conference Finds New Way to Bring Female Producers Together
03/01/2012 01:07 PM EST
Women producers at the Spokane conference site introduce themselves to fellow producers. by Chris Bieker, outreach and communications coordinator, Washington State FSA Women producers from throughout Washington state did something this February that they rarely do — they met neighboring women producers at a statewide conference. In trying to overcome barriers that deter women producers from attending conferences, planners of the Washington Women in Agriculture Conference tried a new and unique format — videoconference. More than 480 women participated in the event that took place simultaneously in 16 locations throughout the state. Past statewide conferences attracted about 140 producers. Feedback...

2012 February 29 - Introducing the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass

The  Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF) Compass is a new online resource about USDA’s support of local and regional food.  The Compass is an online multi-media narrative with stories, pictures and video about USDA’s support for local and regional food systems and an interactive map of USDA-supported local and regional food activities in all 50 states. With  the Compass, you can:

  • LEARN about USDA resources to develop local and regional food enterprises – from seasonal high tunnels that extend the growing season, to technical assistance for beginning and experienced producers, to support for marketing, processing, distribution and retail infrastructure.
  •  SEE case studies and photos of successful producers and projects from around the country.
  • NAVIGATE the interactive KYF Compass Map, which shows the location and focus of many USDA-supported local and regional food projects.
  • WATCH videos documenting how others are building strong local and regional food businesses, expanding local food production on their farms and ranches, and making change in their communities.
  • JOIN the national conversation. If you’re a customer, meet a farmer. If you’re a farmer, talk to your customers.  Continue the conversation in your neighborhood, town and community about what local foods mean to you.

The KYF Compass is a result of the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative.  Launched in 2009, the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative has been working with the USDA’s 17 agencies to coordinate USDA’s work and investments in local and regional food system.   The Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass now allows you to easily navigate the stories of USDA’s work in local and regional food systems, and will spur ideas for how to build stronger local and regional food opportunities in your community.

This information was provided by the USDA/Office of Advocacy and Outreach. If you wish to be removed from this e-mail list please reply to this e-mail and type “Remove from e-mail list” in the subject line.

2012 February 22 - Welcome from the Director and New Website

Dear Stakeholder,

I would like to take the opportunity to introduce myself, Carolyn Parker, the Director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of Advocacy and Outreach (OAO). While I am new to OAO, I am a veteran of USDA and have worked for USDA’s Rural Development at the State and National level for over 30 years.

As the first permanent Director of OAO I am committed to working with the OAO staff to ensure that information is available to you and to achieve OAO’s purpose of improving access to USDA programs and enhancing the viability and profitability of the communities/citizens served by each of OAO’s program areas: Small and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers, Farm Worker Coordination, Socially Disadvantaged Farmers, Higher Education Institutions Program and Community Engagement. Ensuring that the government and its programs are open and transparent is a priority for USDA. The Department is committed to ensuring that all USDA constituents, including historically underserved groups, have the opportunity to participate in and benefit from the programs offered by the Department. To that end - I am pleased to announce the launch of our new website www.outreach.usda.gov. This website highlights programs and resources available throughout USDA to the communities we serve.

I encourage you to take a moment to review the site. Here you’ll find information targeted to your community such as: financial resources available to individuals and organizations, listings of USDA local offices, learning resources that include links to helpful sites such as www.start2farm.gov which helps plan for farming careers. In addition, we have identified USDA news releases affecting small and beginning farmers and ranchers, as well as, historically underserved communities, and you’ll also find information about our Higher Education Programs highlighting scholarship, fellowship, and internship opportunities for students.

Please take a moment to review the website and then be sure to check back frequently for updates.

Sincerely,

Carolyn Parker
Director
USDA/Office of Advocacy and Outreach