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    Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and Communities Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and Communities Document Transcript

    • Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and CommunitiesFederal Programs for Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry, Conservation and Community Development A publication of U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies working together for sustainable places in collaboration with the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) Authors Margaret Krome, Teresa Maurer, and Katie Wied USDA agencies and programs providing major support for this publication: Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE) U.S. Forest Service National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) October, 2009 If English is not your first language, support for your use of this Guide is available in Spanish, Lao and French by calling 1 (800) 346-9140.
    • AcknowledgmentsThe Building Sustainable Places guide is a collaborative publication of several U.S. Department of Agriculture agen-cies, the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, and National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). Manyprogram descriptions in this Guide were built on the excellent profiles of the National Sustainable AgricultureCoalition’s publication, the Grassroots Guide to the 2008 Farm Bill, which were used with permission.The project has been coordinated and edited by Margaret Krome, Teresa Maurer, and Katie Wied, with majorcontributions from John English, Gini Knight, Kim Kroll, Susan LeVan, Patricia McAleer, Robyn Metzger, GregTaylor, and Steve Yaddow, and staff with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Website design andmaintenance as well as distribution of hard copies of this Guide are conducted by the Appropriate TechnologyTransfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA) project of the National Center for Appropriate Technology.USDA agencies and programs providing support for this publication include the Sustainable Agriculture Researchand Education Program (SARE) program, U.S. Forest Service, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture(NIFA, formerly Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service). Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Table of ContentsAcknowledgments.................................................................................................................................................. iiTable of Contents ..................................................................................................................................................iiiIntroduction............................................................................................................................................................ vPrograms by Category........................................................................................................................................... ixAgricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) ............................................................................................. 1Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) ................................................................................................. 3ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service .......................................................................... 5Beginning and Socially Disadvantaged Farmer Contract Land Sales ................................................................... 7Beginning Farmer and Rancher Individual Development Account (BFRIDA)..................................................... 8Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP)........................................................................ 9Biobased Markets Program (BioPreferred) ......................................................................................................... 10Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels ......................................................................................................... 11Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) ........................................................................................................ 12Biomass Research and Development (BR&DI) .................................................................................................. 14Business and Industrial Guaranteed Loan Program (B&I) .................................................................................. 16Certified Development Company Program (504 CDC under SBA).................................................................... 18Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program .................................................................................... 20Community Wood Energy Program..................................................................................................................... 22Conservation Loan and Loan Guarantee Program............................................................................................... 23Conservation Innovation Grant Program (CIG) .................................................................................................. 24Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) ................................................................................................................ 26Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).......................................................................................................... 29Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) .................................................................................... 31Cooperative Extension System (CES) ................................................................................................................. 33Direct Farm Ownership and Operating Loans ..................................................................................................... 34Downpayment Farm Ownership Loan Program .................................................................................................. 36Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) ............................................................................................ 37Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) ........................................................................................... 39WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) ............................................................................................. 41Farmers’ Market Promotion Program (FMPP) .................................................................................................... 43Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP) .................................................................................. 44Forest Biomass for Energy (FBE)........................................................................................................................ 46Forest Legacy Program (FLP) ............................................................................................................................. 47Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) ....................................................................................................................... 48Forest Stewardship Program (FSP)...................................................................................................................... 49Building Sustainable Places Guide Page iii
    • Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) ........................................................................................................ 50Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) ..................................................................................................................... 51Guaranteed Farm Ownership and Operating Loans............................................................................................. 53Integrated Organic and Water Quality Program (IOWP)..................................................................................... 55Intermediary Relending Loan Program (IRP)...................................................................................................... 57Loans for Socially Disadvantaged Persons.......................................................................................................... 59Local Food Enterprise Loans ............................................................................................................................... 61Microloan Program .............................................................................................................................................. 62National Organic Program (NOP)........................................................................................................................ 63Organic Certification Cost Share (NOCCSP) ...................................................................................................... 64Organic Conversion Assistance ........................................................................................................................... 65Organic Research & Extension Initiative (OREI)................................................................................................ 66Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (OASDFR) ................................. 67Partners for Fish and Wildlife .............................................................................................................................. 68Regional Integrated Pest Management Program.................................................................................................. 70Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDC)................................................................................................... 72Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) .......................................................................................... 74Risk Management Education Program (RME) .................................................................................................... 76Risk Management Partnership Agreements (RMA) ............................................................................................ 78Rural Business Enterprise Grants (RBEG) .......................................................................................................... 80Rural Business Opportunity Grants (RBOG) ...................................................................................................... 81Rural Collaborative Investment Program (RCIP)................................................................................................ 82Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program (RCDG).................................................................................. 83Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) ....................................................................................................... 84Rural Energy Self-Sufficiency Initiative.............................................................................................................. 86Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) ...................................................................................... 87Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) ........................................................................................ 89Small Business Innovative Research Program (SBIR)........................................................................................ 90Small Farm Program ............................................................................................................................................ 92Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBG) .................................................................................................... 93Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) .......................................................................................................... 95Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE).................................................................... 96Urban and Community Forestry Program (U&CF) ............................................................................................. 99Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG) ............................................................................................................. 101Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP).................................................................................................................... 103Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) ................................................................................................... 105Wood Education and Resource Center (WERC) ............................................................................................... 107Page iv Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • IntroductionThis guide is written for anyone seeking help from Please conduct Internet searches to obtain updates andfederal programs to foster sustainable and innovative applications for programs.initiatives in this country associated with agricultureand forestry. Sustainability is commonly understood to How is the guide organized?embrace the triple concepts of economic, environmen- There are two ways to identify programs that can helptal and social viability. Specifically, the guide provides you:information about program resources pertaining tonatural resources conservation and management; sus- • The A - Z Table of Contents lists federal programstainable and organic farming practices; value added and as they appear alphabetically in the directory.marketing innovations, nutrition and consumer food • The list of categories of grants shows one way toaccess; economic development for farms, small busi- think about program offerings. Note that some pro-nesses and urban and rural communities; and renew- grams fall within several of the categories although,able energy and energy conservation. in the interest of simplicity, we only list them once.The guide can help farmers, entrepreneurs, community Readers may need to explore programs listed with-developers, private landowners, conservationists, and in several categories to be sure of having found allmany other individuals, as well as private and public programs pertinent to their interest.organizations, both for-profit and not-for-profit. The What kinds of initiatives do programs described inguide describes program resources ranging from grants this guide support?and loans to technical assistance and information re-sources. Natural Resources Conservation and Management – Increasing numbers of farmers, foresters, and otherThe guide can also help USDA and other agency em- landowners seek to adopt resource management prac-ployees become aware and take better advantage of tices that protect soil, air, water and wildlife on theirthe enormous array of federal programs and resources land in an economically viable way. This guide de-available to their clients in supporting sustainable in- scribes several programs offering landowners help innovations in agriculture and forestry. This edition con- getting financial and technical support for a wide rangestitutes the guide’s fifth printing and third complete up- of resource management strategies.date, incorporating programs from the 2008 Farm Bill. Strategies include sustainable forestry practices; inten-How can the guide help you? sive rotational grazing of livestock; soil conservationWe hope to introduce you to programs that can be use- structures; organic or biodynamic farming systems; In-ful to your work, including some you might not oth- tegrated Pest Management (IPM); diversified crops anderwise have thought to pursue. Along with a general crop rotations; farmland protection, wetland and otheroverview of each program, the guide explains the as- habitat restoration; riparian buffers, and many othersistance the program offers and its purposes, as well as practices. This guide includes numerous programsrestrictions on that assistance. When possible, we give that help landowners get information, funding, techni-specific examples of how the program has actually been cal assistance and other resources to support such landused to support such work. management changes and some that help community groups collaborate in this work.This guide includes programs that have existed foryears as well as some that are newly authorized in the Sustainable Farming Practices – As farmers and2008 Farm Bill. A survey to stakeholder groups helped ranchers move toward more environmentally sound,us identify key programs to include, but undoubtedly profitable and socially responsible production practic-some relevant programs escaped our attention. Further, es, they may need information, technical assistance, oralthough the program descriptions are accurate as of other help. Programs exist to assist them with a widethis printing, aspects of some programs will change. range of issues, from weed management to new cropsBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page v
    • and livestock enterprises; from the technical challenges embellished existing ones to support energy productionor certification costs of making the transition to organic on farms and ranches, including biomass productionproduction to understanding economic thresholds of in- and processing, wind turbines, manure digesters, so-tegrated pest management for a particular pest; from lar panels, and geothermal. Some programs help buildtillage to managed grazing. Several programs offer community infrastructure that supports renewable ener-outreach, research, or community assistance, and the gy or conservation. Others target individual landown-2008 Farm Bill included new provisions to focus par- ers or producers who see entrepreneurial opportunitiesticular assistance on underserved or beginning farmers to create energy or want to reduce the energy cost ofand ranchers. their farms or ranches. Whether from the perspective of conservation, production or processing, agricultureMarketing and Value-added Innovations – Many en- has become a focus point for the nation’s energy andtrepreneurs seek to add value to agricultural and for- climate change policies, and this is reflected in the pro-estry resources. Because earnings in extractive indus- grams described in this guide.tries (for example, agricultural production and timberharvesting) are generally low and highly volatile, many What are successful strategies for obtaining re-communities seek to build economic and environmen- sources to support your work in building sustain-tal sustainability by adding value to natural resources able places?through processing, packaging, marketing, distributingthe products themselves, or by producing their goods This guide lists numerous programs that can help ad-with methods that gain market premiums. vance innovations in sustainable agriculture, forestry, entrepreneurship, conservation, and community devel-Creating value-added jobs can improve the diversity opment. Following some sensible and logical steps willof a local economy, increase local incomes, capture help increase your chances of targeting programs forhigher profits locally, and use local natural resources your needs and writing successful proposals.more efficiently and sustainably. This guide describesprograms offering financial, technical, marketing, and What are the hallmarks of a well conceived project?other assistance for such enterprises. A successful federally funded project — whether a re-Nutrition and Consumer Food Access – The nation’s search proposal, conservation plan, marketing or otherstruggle to address the health, fiscal and social implica- proposal — is no different from any other good proj-tions of obesity has brought a renewed awareness of ect. It has tightly defined purposes; a clear strategy tothe importance of affordable, culturally appropriate, accomplish them on a realistic timeline; the necessarysafe and nutritious food, including fresh fruits and veg- people, money, and other resources; a basis for evaluat-etables. Many families and some communities, in both ing the process when done; and an effective means ofurban and rural areas, lack access to such food; impedi- communicating results.ments may be poverty, community isolation, lack of Many projects are improved by a thoughtful effort toeducation about nutrition, or other factors. Remedies build supporting coalitions. A funder will look favor-range from creating market linkages between local ably on, and may require, local matches of funding. Re-producers and consumers to more systemic efforts to member that funding matches usually can also come inaddress underlying poverty in a community. Localities the form of existing staff salaries and other “in-kind”can use this guide to identify forms of federal economic contributions, as well as actual dollars.and technical assistance most appropriate to their needs. In designing a good project, be sure that you have in-Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation – Fluc- cluded the right people in the planning process itself.tuating fuel prices, concerns about climate change, and Every participant should not only care about the idea,the growing awareness of the human and other costs but also be prepared to contribute to its execution. Someof our nation’s depending on energy sources from po- questions to consider in developing your proposal in-litically unstable regions have catapulted renewable clude the following:energy and energy conservation into the national spot-light. The 2008 Farm Bill created new programs and • What problem do you seek to address?Page vi Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • • What is your principal strategy to resolve that prob- http://12.46.245.173/cfda/cfda.html lem? • The Federal Register, http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/• Why is this strategy better than other approaches you might consider? • A site for federal grants in all agencies, http://www. grants.gov• Have other people, locally or otherwise, addressed this problem? If so, what have you learned from • The Foundation Center, http://www.fdncenter.org their work, and how does your effort relate to theirs? (subscription required)• Who else might be concerned about your issues? • Building Sustainable Places, http://attra.ncat.org/ Should they be involved in your project? guide/.• What is a realistic timeline for action? • Grassroots Guide to the 2008 Farm Bill, http:// sustainableagriculturecoalition.org/publications/• What resources do you need to implement your grassrootsguide/ project? What resources can you use for a non-fed- eral match? Many other private and public resources at the state and local levels are not covered in this guide. Contact your• Would others profit from knowing about your ini- State Department of Agriculture, State Forester, State tiative? If so, how do you plan to get the word out? Rural Development Office, local Extension Office, lo- cal conservation office and Resource Conservation and• How will you measure and evaluate your project’s Development (RC&D) coordinator to explore those outcomes? possibilities. Also, asking yourself who might have aHow can you identify potential federal programs? stake in the outcomes of your work might suggest ad- ditional potential funding sources.Once you have a good idea of what your project shouldlook like and what resources it requires, it is time to How can you decide which programs are most ap-explore federal programs and figure out what programs, propriate for your needs?if any, can help you achieve your goals. Besides this Identifying programs in this guide and from otherguide, there are many ways to locate resources poten- sources whose purposes and available resources suittially useful to you. Ask colleagues doing similar work your objectives is an art form. Instead of wasting yourabout who has funded their work, and make use of refer- time chasing programs that have incompatible goals, aence sections in larger public libraries, most university little methodical research will help you assess how wellmain libraries, and the development office of any large your project fits within various programs.university. These reference sites often have many use-ful directories, some dealing with private sources and You may want to talk with program staff, people previ-others with federal ones. Many references are available ously funded, or organizations that have worked with aon the Internet. program to decide whether there is a fit and if so, how to argue for it. It comes down to asking good questionsJust a few sources include the following: the National and thinking strategically. For example:Directory of Corporate Giving; Directory of ResearchGrants; Funding Sources for Community and Econom- • What are the program’s stated mission and objec-ic Development; Government Assistance Almanac; tives? What projects has it funded or collaboratedGovernment Giveaways for Entrepreneurs; Guide to with in the past? Is the form of assistance appro-Federal Funding for Governments and Nonprofits; and priate to your needs? (Think creatively about yourthe Guide to Federal Funding for Education. project’s needs. The problems for which you seek help from federal resources are likely complex, andMany resources are available on the Internet, in- often more than one type of assistance may contrib-cluding: ute to their solution.)• The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, • What are the program’s funding pool, percentage ofBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page vii
    • applicants who typically get funded, average fund- Give yourself more time than you think you’ll need ing amounts, and duration of program grants? – you’ll need it! Many applications processes are com- plex, and even simple ones require time to work out• What are eligibility requirements, financial match matching contributions, get letters of support, share requirements, and restrictions on a program’s use? your proposal with partners and readjust your text ac- Is funding available up front or (more typically) on cordingly. Increasingly, federal grants are submitted a reimbursement basis? electronically. Although a visit to www.grants.gov will• Are deadlines for applying and the timeframe for explain the process, some extra steps are required that funding appropriate to your project timeline? Does take time. Be sure you submit the proposal in plenty of the program fund multiyear projects? Do past grant- time (a day or two in advance) if submitting it electroni- ees feel that a program’s reporting requirements are cally, as lines sometimes back up for electronic submis- reasonable and the program well administered? sion.What are some tips for submitting successful appli- Finally, but very importantly – do not be discouraged!cations? Many successfully funded grants and applications for federal resources are the result of earlier failed attempts.Once you have designed a good project, prepare it for Understanding why your earlier efforts were rejected issubmission to any program to which you’re applying likely to help in future ones. Be sure to ask.so that it stands the greatest chance of being approved.Read the Request for Proposals (sometimes called Getting a copy of the guideNotice of Funding Availability or other titles) severaltimes, even though it’s in small print! Carefully follow To obtain a free copy of this guide, please contactdirections explained in the RFP, including any format ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculturerequirements. Information Service, at P.O. Box 3657, Fayetteville, AR 72702, 1 (800) 346-9140, fax (406) 494-2905, orIdentify the central points you want to make, including e-mail debbier@ncat.org.how your proposal addresses a program’s key goals. Beprecise and accurate; do not be tempted to exaggerate Workshops on using the guidethe need or over promise results. Use clear, concise lan- The Michael Fields Agricultural Institute (MFAI)guage to make your application or proposal readable. It offers workshops to help use this guide. Theis smart to have your application reviewed by someone workshops cover how to envision and design soundwhose editing skills you trust. Is it clear? Readable? projects; identify programs offering resources; andGrammatically correct? maximize your chances of submitting successfulPay close attention to formatting, deadline, nonfederal proposals. www.michaelfieldsaginst.orgmonetary match and other stated requirements. Be surethat your budget is accurate, clear, and is accompanied For more information, contact Margaret Krome,by a budget narrative to clarify any points you think MFAI Policy Program Director, at (608) 238-1440;could be misunderstood by reviewers. And, of course, mkrome@sbcglobal.netdo not be daunted by having to readjust your proposalfor each program to which you submit it.Make sure you understand the review process. Is itbased on a review by only a few people, or will thereview be more comprehensive? If the contact personmakes funding decisions, get to know their preferences.Call program staff if you have questions about the ap-plication process. Of course, always be pleasant in dis-cussing your project.Page viii Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Programs by CategoryThis list shows one way to think about categories of program offerings. Although, in the interest of simplicity,we only list them once here, some programs are pertinent to several kinds of topics. For example, although theSustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program is listed under Organic and Sustainable Farm-ing Practices, it has also funded grants pertaining to conservation, value-added and marketing, economic develop-ment, and renewable energy initiatives. Readers should explore programs listed within several categories to besure of having found all programs pertinent to their interest.Natural Resources Conservation and ManagementAgricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) .............................................................................................1Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) .................................................................................................................26Conservation Innovation Grant Program (CIG) ...................................................................................................24Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)...........................................................................................................29Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) .....................................................................................31Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) .............................................................................................37Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) ............................................................................................39Forest Legacy Program .........................................................................................................................................47Forest Products Lab ..............................................................................................................................................48Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program.....................................................................................99Forest Stewardship Program .................................................................................................................................49Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) ......................................................................................................................51Partners for Fish and Wildlife ...............................................................................................................................68Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) .............................................................................................74Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP).....................................................................................................................103Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) ....................................................................................................105Wood Education Resource Center (WERC) .......................................................................................................107Organic and Sustainable Farming PracticesAgriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) ..................................................................................................3Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA).................................................................................5Cooperative Extension Systems (CES).................................................................................................................33Integrated Organic and Water Quality Program (IOWP)......................................................................................55National Organic Program ....................................................................................................................................63Organic Certification Cost-Share Program ...........................................................................................................64Organic Conversion Program (Subset of EQIP) ...................................................................................................65Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI)...........................................................................66Regional Integrated Pest Management Program...................................................................................................70Risk Management Partnership Agreements (RMA) .............................................................................................78Specialty Crop Block Grants Program..................................................................................................................93Specialty Crop Research Initiative........................................................................................................................95Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) ...................................................................................96Value Added and Marketing InnovationsFarmers’ Market Promotion Program (FMPP) .....................................................................................................43Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP) ...................................................................................44Building Sustainable Places Guide Page ix
    • Value Added Producer Grants (VAPG)...............................................................................................................101Nutrition and Consumer Food AccessCommunity Food Projects Competitive Grants Program .....................................................................................20Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP).......................................................................................................41Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Program (FVPP)...........................................................................................................50Local and Regional Food Enterprise Guaranteed Loans ......................................................................................61Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) .........................................................................................89WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) ..............................................................................................41Economic Development for Farms, Small Businesses and CommunitiesBeginning and Socially Disadvantaged Farmer Contract Land Sales ....................................................................7Beginning Farmer and Rancher Individual Development Accounts (BFRIDA) ....................................................8Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP).........................................................................9Business and Industrial Guaranteed Loan Program (B&I) ...................................................................................16Certified Development Company Program (SMA program) ................................................................................18Conservation Loan and Loan Guarantee Program................................................................................................23Direct Farm Ownership and Operating Loans ......................................................................................................34Downpayment Farm Ownership Loan Program ...................................................................................................36Guaranteed Farm Ownership and Operating Loans..............................................................................................53Intermediary Relending Loan Program (IRP )......................................................................................................57Loans for Socially Disadvantaged Persons (SDA) ...............................................................................................59Microloan Program ...............................................................................................................................................62Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Grants ..........................................67Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDC)....................................................................................................72Risk Management Education Program (RME) .....................................................................................................76Rural Business Enterprise Grants (RBEG) ...........................................................................................................80Rural Business Opportunity Grants (RBOG) .......................................................................................................81Rural Collaborative Investment Program (RCIP).................................................................................................82Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program (RCDG)..................................................................................83Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) .......................................................................................87Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR).........................................................................................90Small Farm Program .............................................................................................................................................92Renewable Energy and Energy ConservationBiobased Market Program ....................................................................................................................................10Bioenergy Program for Advance Biofuels ............................................................................................................ 11Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) .........................................................................................................12Biomass Research and Development Initiative ....................................................................................................14Community Wood Energy Program......................................................................................................................22Forest Biomass for Energy....................................................................................................................................46Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) ........................................................................................................84Rural Energy Self-Sufficiency Initiate..................................................................................................................86Page x Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) Promoting ground and surface water conservation or water quality improvement on agricultural landsProgram Basics help achieve water quality or water conservation benefits on agricultural land.The Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP)is a voluntary conservation program under the Envi- Application and Financial Informationronmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). UnderAWEP, the Natural Resources Conservation Service An agricultural producer may apply directly to NRCS(NRCS) enters into partnership agreements with eli- for financial or technical assistance to implement agri-gible entities that want to promote ground and surface cultural water enhancement activities in an approvedwater conservation or improve water quality on agricul- AWEP project area. Producers who apply directly totural lands. The Secretary of Agriculture has delegated NRCS must be eligible for EQIP, and selected applica-the authority for AWEP to the NRCS Chief. As part of tions will be subject to applicable EQIP requirements.EQIP, the AWEP program operates through contracts AWEP project proposals submitted by eligible entitieswith producers to plan and implement conservation are ranked competitively and must include the follow-practices in project areas established through partner- ing:ship agreements. • Description of the geographic area to be covered byLegislative Changes the agreement;The 2008 Farm Bill established AWEP, replacing the • Description of the agricultural water quality or wa-Ground and Surface Water Conservation Program. ter conservation issues to be covered by the agree-AWEP’s purposes – to promote ground and surface ment;water conservation and improve water quality – are • Description of agricultural water enhancement ob-achieved by having producers implement agricultural jectives to be achieved through the partnership;water enhancement activities. These include: • Description of the partners collaborating to achieve• Water quality or water conservation plan develop- the project objectives, as well as the roles, responsi- ment, including resource condition assessment and bilities, and capabilities of each partner; and modeling; • Description of the program resources required for• Water conservation restoration or enhancement the project. projects, including conversion to the production of less water-intensive agricultural commodities or In evaluating an application, NRCS may give higher dryland farming; priority to proposals that:• Water quality or quantity restoration or enhance- • Include a high percentage of agricultural land and ment projects; producers in a region or area;• Irrigation system improvement or irrigation effi- • Result in high levels of applied agricultural water ciency enhancement; quality and water conservation activities;• Activities designed to mitigate the effects of • Significantly enhance agricultural activity; drought; and • Allow for monitoring and evaluation;• Other related activities deemed by the Secretary toBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page 1
    • • Assist producers in meeting a regulatory require- ment;• Include the conversion of agricultural land from ir- rigated farming to dryland farming; and• Leverage federal funds with those provided by the potential partner.Eligibility, Uses, and RestrictionsEntities that are eligible to enter into AWEP partner-ship agreements include, but are not limited to, fed-erally recognized Indian Tribes, States, units of localgovernment, agricultural or silvicultural associations,or other groups of such producers, such as an irrigationassociations, agricultural land trusts, or other nongov-ernmental organizations with experience working withagricultural producers.Website InformationFor more information and updates about AWEP andother Farm Bill topics, refer to the NRCS website at:http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/farmbill/2008/NRCS AWEP program website at: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/awep/Contact InformationMark S. ParsonUSDA NRCSEQIP Program Specialist1400 Independence Ave. SW Room 5227Washington, DC 20250Phone: 202-720-1840Fax: 202-720-4265mark.parson@wdc.usda.govPage 2 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI)Providing grants that address key problems of national, regional, and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of agricultureProgram Basics F) Agriculture economics and rural communities.The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Please see the AFRI Request for Application (RFA) onis the core competitive grants program offered by the the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)USDA. The purpose of AFRI is to fund grants that ad- website at www.csrees.usda.gov/ for individual pro-dress key problems of national, regional, and multi-state gram descriptions.importance in sustaining all components of agriculture,including farm efficiency and profitability, ranching, Project Examplesrenewable energy, forestry (both urban and agroforest- AFRI is a new competitive grant program under Sec-ry), aquaculture, rural communities and entrepreneur- tion 7406 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Actship, human nutrition, food safety, biotechnology, and of 2008 (FCEA) (Pub. L. 110-246) (i.e., the 2008 Farmconventional breeding. AFRI also supports coordina- Bill).tion opportunities to build on the discoveries from theadvancement of fundamental sciences in support of ag- Application and Financial Informationriculture. Therefore, efforts in education and extension Each year the AFRI Request for Application (RFA) isthat deliver science-based knowledge to people, allow- published on the National Institute of Food and Agri-ing them to make informed practical decisions are also culture (NIFA) website at www.nifa.usda.gov/. Pro-a priority. posal guidelines and submission deadlines are outlinedAFRI programs offer a wide array of award types for FY in the RFA. All applications must be submitted via2009, including: non-integrated grants (Research only Grants.gov.projects, Education only projects, and Extension only Congress passed funding for AFRI in FY10 at $262projects); integrated grants that include two or more of million. However, there is no commitment by USDAthe following in one project: research, education, and to fund any particular application or to make a specificextension; conference grants; and Food and Agricultur- number of awards. For FY09, USDA committed thatal Science Enhancement (FASE) grants including post- no less than 30 percent of appropriated funds would bedoctoral grants, new investigator grants, and strength- made available to fund programs that integrate research,ening grants (standard strengthening grants, sabbatical education and extension. Of the AFRI funds allocatedgrants, equipment grants, and seed grants). to research activities, 60 percent were to be directedSpecific programs within AFRI are offered in the toward grants for fundamental (or basic) research andfollowing areas: 40 percent toward applied research. Of the AFRI funds allocated to fundamental research, not less than 30 per-A) Plant health and production and plant products; cent of AFRI grants were to be directed toward researchB) Animal health and production and animal products; by multidisciplinary teams. It was anticipated that no less than 10 percent of the funds would be made avail-C) Food safety, nutrition, and health; able for Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement (FASE) Awards and no more than two percent of fundsD) Renewable energy, natural resources, and environ- for fundamental research be made available for Equip- ment; ment Grants. AFRI funds may be used to support appli-E) Agriculture systems and technology; and cations submitted to supplementary AFRI RFAs and/or solicitations for multi-agency programs in which AFRI is participating.Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 3
    • Eligibility, Uses, and RestrictionsThe eligibility for AFRI programs is linked to the pro-gram of interest. Non-integrated grants are eligible tostate agricultural experiment stations, colleges, univer-sities, university research foundations, other researchinstitutions and organizations, federal agencies, nation-al laboratories, private organizations or corporations,and individuals who are U.S. citizens, nationals, or per-manent residents. Integrated programs’ eligibility arerestricted to colleges and universities, 1994 Land-GrantInstitutions, Hispanic-serving agricultural colleges anduniversities, and research foundations maintained by acollege or university. Please see the RFA for the eligi-bility for FASE grants.For information about uses and restrictions also see theRFA.Websitehttp://www.nifa.usda.gov/funding/afri/afri.htmlContactDr. Mark Poth, Research DirectorCompetitive ProgramsUSDA-NIFAPhone: (202) 401-5244mpoth@nifa.usda.govPage 4 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Providing free technical information to producers and information providers on a wide variety of sustainable farming topicsProgram Basics agriculture program specialists will research the ques- tion, summarize findings in writing, and compile sup-ATTRA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Infor- porting literature as appropriate to accompany themation Service, provides information to those engaged report, which a caller receives by mail. Publicationsin or serving commercial agriculture, such as farmers, based on frequently requested topics are also available.ranchers, extension agents, farm organizations, and ATTRA provides more than 300 topic-specific publica-farm-based businesses. Clients can call in requests on tions on its website, covering a wide variety of topicsa toll-free telephone line, use the website that features related to organic and sustainable agriculture.regular updates, and learn about workshops featuringtechnical presentations by staff. ATTRA also provides a free weekly electronic newslet- ter on national events and advances in sustainable agri-ATTRA offers a wide variety of information on sus- culture. A bimonthly newsletter on a specific sustain-tainable agriculture, from horticultural and agronomic able agriculture topic is also available. Both of thesecrops to livestock and farming systems. ATTRA’s ser- newsletters may be subscribed to at no charge via thevices seek to help U.S. farmers increase profitability ATTRA website (www.attra.ncat.org).and provide more healthful food for consumers whilebecoming better stewards of the natural resources and Financial Informationenvironment of America’s farmlands. Funding for fiscal year 2010 is $2.8 million throughATTRA’s agriculture program specialists respond to re- USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service. Thisquests from callers on how to: funding supports the informational and educational work of more than 30 staff assigned to the ATTRA• Improve farm income with a diversity of crops and program. The program is managed by the nonprofit livestock National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT),• Reduce dependence on costly off-farm inputs which has offices in Montana, Arkansas, California, Pennsylvania, and Iowa. NCAT’s organizational web-• Assess new marketing methods site is www.ncat.org• Produce alternative crops and livestock Eligibility, Uses, and Restrictions• Institute organic farming practices ATTRA provides technical assistance and information to anyone involved in U.S. commercial agriculture.• Incorporate value-added and farm-processed prod- This includes farmers, ranchers, extension agents, farm ucts organizations, farm-based businesses, information pro-• Improve soil fertility and water quality viders, and others who serve farmers. All of ATTRA’s publications and multimedia information (including• Rejuvenate rural America through agricultural en- webinar and radio broadcasts) are available for free terprises download to anyone with internet access.Information Available WebsiteATTRA specializes in responding to questions about www.attra.ncat.orgspecific sustainable enterprises or practices. ATTRABuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page 5
    • ContactPeople involved in commercial agriculture in the Unit-ed States may request information by calling (800)346-9140 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Central Time) Mondaythrough Friday, or by visiting the ATTRA website. ASpanish-language helpline is also available at 800-411-3222.Page 6 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Beginning and Socially Disadvantaged Farmer Contract Land Sales Providing federal loan guarantees to retiring farmers who self-finance the sale of their land to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchersProgram Basics the farm may have sharply declined between the time the contract was entered and any default by the buyer.The Beginning and Socially Disadvantaged Farmer andRancher Contract Land Sales Program provides federal Eligibility, Uses, and Restrictionsloan guarantees to retiring farmers who self-financethe sale of their land to beginning or socially disadvan- To be eligible for a loan guarantee, the buyer of thetaged farmers and ranchers. The program is designed farm or ranch must: 1) be a beginning or socially dis-to encourage private land contract sales by providing a advantaged farmer or rancher; 2) have an acceptabledegree of protection to the retiring farmer whose retire- credit history demonstrated by satisfactory debt repay-ment savings is often in the land and farm. It provides ment; 3) be the owner or operator of the farm or ranchthe seller with a federal guarantee much like that avail- when the contract is complete; and 4) be unable to ob-able to commercial banks and other lenders. tain sufficient credit elsewhere without a guarantee to finance actual needs at reasonable rates or terms.The program is structured to provide the seller of thefarm or ranch two options: Website1) A “prompt payment” guarantee that covers three This program is administered by the Farm Serviceamortized annual installments or an amount equaling Agency of USDA. www.fsa.usda.govthree amortized annual installments; or For information and applications, go to your FSA re-2) A standard asset guarantee plan that covers an gional Service Centers or to your state FSA office.amount equal to 90 percent of the outstanding principle http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/of the loan provided that the seller obtains a servicing app?state=us&agency=fsaagent. Contact InformationFor either option, the loan guarantee stays in effect for Bob Bonnet10 years. The purchase price or appraisal value of the Guaranteed Loan Branch Chieffarm or ranch that is the subject of the contract sale can- Farm Service Agencynot be greater than $500,000. . The buyer of the farm bob.bonnet@usda.govand ranch must contribute at least 5 percent as the down 202-720-3889payment for the land.Under the prompt payment guarantee, if the new farm-er/buyer does not pay an annual installment due on thecontract, or pays only part of an installment, USDA’sFarm Service Agency provides the scheduled paymentor the unpaid portion to the seller through an escrowagent after the seller unsuccessfully attempts collec-tion. In that circumstance, the buyer would then tryto restructure the debt through an approved repaymentplan.Under the asset guarantee, the seller is protecting him-self or herself against the possibility that the value ofBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page 7
    • Beginning Farmer and Rancher Individual Development Account (BFRIDA) Helping beginning farmers and ranchers finance their agricultural endeavorsProgram Basics responsible for providing access to business and finan- cial education.The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Individual De-velopment Accounts (BFRIDA) Pilot Program is de- Application and Financial Informationsigned to help beginning farmers and ranchers of lim-ited means finance their agricultural endeavors through The organization or collaboration will establish a re-business and financial education and matched savings serve fund made up of the total amount of the IDA grantaccounts. The program is modeled after the more ur- awarded to them (up to $250,000) and a non-federalban-based Individual Development Account program, match of 50 percent of that total amount awarded. Theadministered by the Department of Health and Human grantees can use up to 10 percent of the federal grantServices, that focuses primarily on home purchase or amount (up to $25,000) to support business assistance,business development. The new Beginning Farmer and financial education, account management, and generalRancher IDAs, administered by USDA, will promote program operation costs. The local, non-federal matcha new generation of farmers and ranchers by assisting may be used for program expenses without limit. Inter-those of modest means to establish a pattern of savings. est accrued on the federal grant award can be used forUltimately, the savings can be used as part of a down matched savings or for program costs.payment on farmland or to purchase breeding stock, Once a participating organization establishes a Begin-farm equipment, or other productive assets. ning Farmer or Rancher IDA project, an eligible begin-The 2008 Farm Bill directs USDA to establish pilot ning farmer or rancher can set up an account with theprojects in at least 15 states. The states have not been participating organization and deposit a certain amountselected yet, but future editions of this Guide will pro- that is “matched” by that organization at a rate of atvide that information when it becomes available. Se- least 100 percent and up to 200 percent. For instance,lection of the IDA organization or agency within a state if a farmer participant deposits $100 a month into thewill be chosen on a competitive basis. individual development account, the organization’s IDA program will match them at 1:1 or 2:1 or up toEligibility, Uses, and Restrictions $200 a month. After the two-year program period, up to $7,200 would be available for the farmer to put to-Eligible beginning farmer or ranchers are those who do wards the assets he or she has been saving for. Up tonot have significant financial resources or assets and $3,000 of an individual’s savings can be matched perhave an income less than 80 percent of the median in- year, so at the 2:1 rate that means there can be a total ofcome of the state in which they live, or 200 percent of $9,000 in annual leveraged savings.the most recent annual Federal Poverty Income guide-lines published by the Department of Health and Hu- Websiteman Services. An eligible beginning farmer or ranchermust also agree to complete a financial training pro- www.fsa.usda.govgram and create a savings account. Contact InformationAny non-profit organizations or tribe or local or state Mike Hintongovernment can submit an application to USDA to re- Direct Loan Branch Chiefceive a grant. Non-profits could also team with agen- Farm Service Agencycies to run a pilot program. The selected groups will mike.hinton@usda.govboth establish and administer the IDAs and are also 202-720-1472Page 8 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) Funding education, extension, outreach and technical assistance initiativesProgram Basics immigrant, and women farmers and ranchers, as well as farmworkers desiring to become farmers in their ownThe Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Pro- right.gram (BFRDP) is a competitive grant program admin-istered by the National Institute of Food and Agricul- Application and Financial Informationture (NIFA) that funds education, extension, outreach,and technical assistance initiatives directed at helping BFRDP grants have a term of 3 years and cannot ex-beginning farmers and ranchers of all types. ceed $250,000 a year. Eligible recipients can receive consecutive grants and must provide a cash or in-kindWhile the BFRDP was first authorized in the 2002 contribution match that is equal to 25 percent of theFarm Bill, it never received funding during the annual grant funds provided. Projects funded can serve farm-appropriations process. With the 2008 Farm Bill, the ers who are not beginning farmers, provided that theBFRDP now has mandatory funding to operate as an primary purpose of the project is fostering beginningannual competitive grant program. farmer opportunities.The BFRDP is targeted especially to collaborative local, Websitestate, and regionally based networks and partnershipsto support financial and entrepreneurial training, men- http://www.nifa.usda.gov/beginningfarmerandrancher.toring, and apprenticeship programs, as well as “land cfmlink” programs that connect retiring with new farmers, http://www.nifa.usda.gov/funding/bfrdp/bfrdp.htmlinnovative farm transfer and transition practices, andeducation, outreach, and curriculum development ac- Contact Informationtivities to assist beginning farmers and ranchers. Top- S. Sureshwaranics may also include production practices, conservation USDA- NIFAplanning, risk management education, diversification ssureshwaran@nifa.usda.govand marketing strategies, environmental compliance, 202-720-7536credit management, and so on.Eligibility, Uses, and RestrictionsApplicants for the BFRDP must be collaborative state,tribal, local, or regionally-based networks or partner-ships of public and private groups. Networks or part-nerships may include: community-based organizations,non-governmental organizations; cooperative exten-sion; relevant USDA and state agencies; and commu-nity colleges. These networks or partnerships in turnuse the BFRDP funding to provide the training and as-sistance to beginning farmers and ranchers.The BFRDP sets aside 25 percent of the yearly fundsfor projects serving limited resource and socially dis-advantaged farmers and ranchers, including minority,Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 9
    • Biobased Markets Program (BioPreferred) Establishing a process to determine criteria for Federal purchase of biobased productsProgram Basics The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) provided $1 million for FY 2008 and will provide $2 millionAuthorized under section 9002 of the 2008 Farm Bill, annually for FY2009-12 for testing and labeling of bio-the BioPreferred Program (formerly the Federal Bio- based products. An additional $2 million may be pro-based Procurement Program) establishes a process for vided annually for FY 2010-12.determining eligibility criteria for Federal purchase ofbiobased products. Eligibility, Uses, and RestrictionsThe BioPreferred Program requires every Federal Biobased products, according to the Secretary of Ag-agency to give a procurement preference to designat- riculture, are commercial or industrial products (othered items composed of biobased products unless those than food or feed) composed in whole or large part ofitems (1) are not reasonably available, (2) do not per- renewable domestic agricultural or forestry materials,form adequately, or (3) are not reasonably priced. or an intermediate ingredient or feedstock including plant, animal, and marine materials. The program nowUSDA’s goal is to increase Federal procurement of adds heating oil as an excluded category.biobased products government-wide and develop gov-ernment and the public markets through a voluntary USDA has developed a series of BioPreferred tools,labeling program. USDA tests and evaluates biobased such as model contract language, to assist Federal agen-products and designates items for preferred federal pro- cies and the business community in the implementationcurement. of the program. Most of these tools are available at the BioPreferred website (http://www.biopreferred.gov).Through published regulations, USDA has designateda total of 33 biobased items or product categories rep- USDA is also in the process of developing a labelingresenting nearly 3,000 individual products. program for the general public to encourage use of the products beyond Federal government procurement.Biobased products include cleaners, lubricants, build-ing materials, insulation, roof coatings, fuel additives, Websiteand a host of other sustainable industrial materialsmade from agricultural commodities that the Federal http://www.biopreferred.govgovernment can use. Investigation is under way to de- Contact Informationvelop additional rules for Federal agency procurement. Ron Buckhalt, Manager, BioPreferred ProgramApplication and Financial Information Phone: (202) 205-4008As of this printing, the USDA is currently in the pro- Ronb.buckhalt@da.usda.govcess of collecting biobased product information. Thisinformation aids in the creation of designations for theprocurement of biobased products by the federal gov-ernment. Products may only be listed in the catalogonce their designations have been finalized. You mayregister your company with the BioPreferred programand then submit products to be listed in the BiobasedProducts Catalog found on the BioPreferred website.Page 10 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels Providing incentive payments for the production of fuel derived from renewable biomassProgram Basics Eligibility, Uses, and RestrictionsAuthorized under section 9005 of the 2008 Farm Bill, Eligible producers entering into a contract are paidthe Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels re-titles, based on the quantity and quality of advanced biofuelrenews, and extends the program formerly known as production and on the net nonrenewable energy con-the Bioenergy Program. This program provides incen- tent of the advanced biofuel. Payment amount will de-tive payments to ethanol and biodiesel producers on an pend on the number of producers participating in theincremental basis to increase production. Biofuel pro- program, the amount of advanced biofuels being pro-ducers entering into a contract with USDA are reim- duced, and the amount of funds available.bursed based on quantity, duration and net nonrenew-able energy content. WebsiteProject Examples http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RBS/BUSP/ 9005Biofuels.htmThe Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels is ad-ministered by the USDA’s Rural Business and Coop- Contact Informationerative Service, Energy Division. As of this printing, Office of Business Programsguidelines to implement the program are pending. 1400 Independence Ave. SWOne project example might be: Mail Stop 3225 Washington, DC 20250-3225Production of biofuels such as biodiesel, butanol, bio-gas or other alcohols from feedstocks such as cellulose, William Smithhemicellulose, lignin, crop residues, vegetative waste, Phone: 202.205.0903animal waste, food waste, yard waste, vegetable oil, or Email: William.Smith@wdc.usda.govanimal fat. Chris CassidyApplication and Financial Information Phone: 202.720.6819The 2008 Farm Bill has directed the USDA Secretary Email: Chris.Cassidy@wdc.usda.govto establish criteria and guidelines for the submission,evaluation, and funding of proposed projects under thisprogram. Guidelines to implement the program werepending as of this printing.The program will provide payments to eligible ad-vanced biofuel producers to support and ensure an ex-panding production. The bill provides $55 million inFY 2009 and 2010, $85 million in FY 2011, and $105million in FY 2012. An additional authorization of dis-cretionary funds in the amount of $25 million per yearmay be available from FY 2009 to 2012. No more thanfive percent of funds made available annually may goto facilities with a total refining capacity of more than150 million gallons per year.Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 11
    • Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP)Providing financial assistance to producers or entities that deliver eligible biomass material to designated biomass conversion facilitiesProgram Basics collection, harvest, storage, and transportation of eligible material to a biomass conversion facilityAuthorized under Section 9011 of the 2008 Farm Bill, from BCAP contract acreage and other sources.the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) is de-signed to: Although the program is not required to disburse a specified annual amount, the law authorizes USDA(1) support the establishment and production of eligi- to use, from CCC funds, “sums as are necessary” to ble crops for conversion to bioenergy in selected successfully implement BCAP. The White House Of- BCAP project areas; and fice of Management and Budget in consultation with(2) assist agricultural and forest land owners and op- USDA will decide funding apportionments based upon erators with collection, harvest, storage, and trans- demand for the program, administration priorities, and portation of eligible material for use in a biomass other considerations. conversion facility. Eligibility, Uses, and RestrictionsProject Examples Biomass production must occur on either agriculturalThe Farm Service Agency (FSA) is currently working land or non-industrial private forest land and excludesto develop and implement the Biomass Crop Assistance Federal and State owned land, Conservation ReserveProgram. FSA is preparing an environmental impact Program, and similar land protection programs and na-study. After this impact study is drafted, FSA plans to tive sod.publish more specific program provisions as regula- BCAP project areas are selected based on:tions for BCAP in the Federal Register. Although exactdates are not available for this rulemaking, FSA hopes • A description of the eligible land and eligible cropsto implement BCAP in time for the 2010 crop year. of each producer that will participate in the pro- posed BCAP project area;Application and Financial Information • A letter of commitment from a biomass conver-BCAP is a Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) pro- sion facility that the facility will use eligible cropsgram administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) intended to be produced in the proposed BCAPwith the support of other federal and local agencies. Po- project area;tential project sponsors apply for selection as BiomassCrop Assistance Program (BCAP) project areas. • Evidence that the biomass conversion facility has sufficient equity available if the facility is not op-The 2008 Farm Bill authorizes 3 types of payments erational at the time the project area proposal isunder BCAP: submitted;• Establishment payments for up to 75% of cost of • Other appropriate information. establishing an eligible biomass crop for BCAP contract acreage. BCAP project area selection criteria include the follow- ing nine factors:• Annual payments to support production for BCAP contract acreage. 1. The volume of the eligible crops proposed to be produced in the proposed BCAP project area and• Collection, harvest, storage, and transportation the probability that such crops will be used for (CHST) payments of up to $45/ton for 2 years for BCAP purposes;Page 12 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • 2) The volume of renewable biomass projected to be Website available from sources other than the eligible crops grown on contract acres; http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?area=home&su bject=ener&topic=bcap3) The anticipated economic impact in the proposed BCAP project area; Contact Information4) The opportunity for producers and local investors Paul Harte, USDA/FSA/CEPD-KC to participate in the ownership of the biomass con- Phone: (816) 926-6014 version facility in the proposed BCAP project area; Paul.harte@kcc.usda.gov5) The participation rate by beginning or socially dis- advantaged farmers or ranchers;6) The impact on soil, water, and related resources;7) The variety in biomass production approaches within a project area, including agronomic condi- tions, harvest and postharvest practices, and mono- culture and polyculture crop mixes;8) The range of eligible crops among project areas; and9) Any other additional information determined nec- essary by the Secretary of Agriculture.Contract terms are up to 5 years for annual and peren-nial crops and up to 15 years for woody biomass crops.USDA will determine whether project proposals meetthe minimum threshold for selection based on criteriain the statute and rank proposals based on the nine gen-eral criteria listed above.Eligible biomass crops do not include those crops eli-gible for commodity payments under Title I of the 2008Farm Bill, invasive or noxious plants, animal waste andbyproducts, food and yard waste, or algae.Conservation Plans or Forest Stewardship Plans mustbe adhered to by BCAP participants, who also must bein compliance with the highly erodible and wetlandscompliance provisions of the Food Security Act of1985, as amended.USDA had not yet published the Federal Rules to im-plement the program by the time this directory waspublished. Additional uses of CCC funds for this pro-gram are currently unknown.Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 13
    • Biomass Research and Development (BR&DI) Supporting research, development, and demonstrations on cost-effective ways to produce alternative fuels and chemicals from biomass resourcesProgram Basics • The University of Florida was funded to address genetic engineering of sugarcane for increased fer-Authorized under section 9008 of the 2008 Farm Bill, mentable sugar yield from hemicellulosic biomassthe Biomass Research and Development Initiative in Florida.(BR&DI) extends the program originally created un-der the Biomass Research and Development Act of Application and Financial Information2000 and amended by the Energy Policy Act (EPAct)of 2005. The Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative State Re- search, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES)This program provides competitive grants, contracts, and the DOE Office of Biomass Programs competitive-and financial assistance to eligible entities to carry out ly award Biomass Research and Development Initia-research, development, and demonstration of biofuels tive (BR&DI) grants to eligible entities to research, de-and biobased products, and the methods, practices and velop, and demonstrate biomass projects. As amendedtechnologies for their production. by the 2008 Farm Bill, the three main Technical Areas are: (1) Feedstocks Development, (2) Biofuels & Bio-Project Examples based Products Development, and (3) Biofuels Devel- opment Analysis. This is a joint solicitation, and DOESelected projects for the 2007 fiscal year were in four is managing the pre-application process.technical areas as mandated by EPAct 2005: feedstock All eligible applications are evaluated in a joint USDA/production, technological development, product diver- DOE technical merit review process, in addition to re-sification, and technology analysis. (See BR&DI for views by each agency based on cost and programmaticspecific technical area descriptions.) priorities. Only those applicants that have submitted a• Texas Engineering Experimental Station was pre-application and received notification from the DOE funded to demonstrate the commercial feasibility inviting them to submit a full application will be al- of anaerobic fermentation of biomass for the pro- lowed to submit a full application. duction of carboxylate salts and their conversion to Applicants must clearly demonstrate the value chain keytones. element they intend to focus on and specify whether• Washington State University was funded to provide the project is conducting research or a demonstration. product diversification strategies for a new genera- The value chain can be characterized as consisting of tion of biofuels and bio-products. the following elements: feedstock development and growth; feedstock harvesting and preparation; feed-• Rutgers University was funded to develop a U.S. stock logistics and transportation; feedstock storage native grass breeding consortium to identify re- and handling; biomass pre-processing (as appropriate); gional optimum biomass productivity on marginal biomass conversion; production of biofuels/bioenergy/ lands and switchgrass performance in specific U.S. biobased products; product logistics and handling; and regions. product delivery and distribution.• Agrivida, Inc. was funded to study altered plant All projects should be planned and implemented in ac- compositions for improved biofuel production. cordance with a life cycle point of view such that both This will include analysis of rice straw, sorghum, direct and indirect environmental and economic im- and switchgrass performance in specific U.S. pacts are considered. regions.Page 14 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • The program expected to award up to $20 million infunds in FY 2009, $28 million in FY 2010, $30 millionin FY 2011, and $40 million in FY 2012. An additionalfunding authorization of $35 million per year from FY2009 through 2012 may become available for continu-ation of the program.Eligibility, Uses, and RestrictionsEligible applicants include institutions of higher learn-ing, national laboratories, federal research agencies,private sector entities, nonprofit organizations, or con-sortia of two or more entities. Grants are awarded com-petitively based on technical merit and program priori-ties identified in the solicitation package. This solicita-tion requires a 20 percent minimum non-federal shareof the total project cost.Websitehttp://www.brdisolutions.comContact InformationTJ HeibelDepartment of EnergyPhone: (410) 997-7778 ext. 223theibel@bcs-hq.com.Carmela BaileyUSDA- CSREESPhone: (202) 401-6443cbailey@csrees.usda.gov.Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 15
    • Business and Industrial Guaranteed Loan Program (B&I) Guaranteeing loans by commercial local lenders to businesses in rural areasProgram Basics • In Georgia, a B&I guaranteed loan and a section 9006 guaranteed loan were used to finance theThe Business and Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loan construction of a wood pellet manufacturing plantprogram guarantees loans by commercial local lend- designed to generate 19.8 tons per hour of high en-ers to businesses in rural areas. By guaranteeing loans ergy content, demystified (moisture removed) bio-against a portion (up to a maximum of 90 percent) of mass pellets. The plant will be an integrated pro-loss resulting from borrower default, the B&I Guaran- ducer of densified biomass pellets. The plant willteed Loan program is meant to expand the available convert waste wood into pellets including wood re-credit for businesses. B&I guarantees can result in a ceiving and storage, a green wood dryer heated by anumber of benefits to such businesses. wood waste furnace, size reduction, pellet press andThe loan guarantee may be used for business and indus- cooling, dust-collection, pellet storage and trucktrial acquisitions, construction, conversion, expansion, loading equipment. This project created 18 jobs.repair, modernization or developmentcosts; purchase Application and Financial Informationof equipment, machinery or supplies; startup costs andworking capital; processing and marketing facilities; As is the case with Small Business Administrationpollution control and abatement; and refinancing for loan guarantees, the business must first find a bank orviable projects, under certain conditions. lending institution willing to extend a loan subject to a guarantee. The bank then makes a joint applicationProject Examples with the borrower to the USDA state or district RuralExamples of projects that have been funded include: Development office. The state office generally has loan approval authority.• In Indiana, a loan was made to a manufacturer of auto parts used in transmissions and drive trains Applications for loan guarantees exceeding a state’s by the major auto manufacturers. This loan was loan approval authority are submitted to the national used for the refinancing of debt and purchase of office. They are available throughout the year and are machinery and equipment. It created 24 jobs and accepted on an ongoing basis. Loan guarantees are to saved 116 jobs. be approved within 60 days subject to the availability of funds. Pre-application reviews and advice are also• In Illinois, B&I loan funds were used to construct available through state offices. an assisted living facility and to provide working capital. The facility will have 78 units and will cre- The maximum aggregate B&I guaranteed loan amount ate 58 new jobs for the local community. is $10 million to any one borrower, although the Agen- cy Administrator can grant up to $25 million. The Sec-• In Louisiana, a guaranteed loan was used to refi- retary may approve guaranteed loans in excess of $25 nance existing debt and construct a hospital. The million, up to $40 million, for rural cooperative orga- facility, a one-story structure, will grow to 32,485 nizations that process value-added agricultural com- square feet after expansion. It currently has 44 acute modities. For loans of $2 million or less, the maximum care beds. After the expansion, it will also include portion of guarantee is 90 percent; for loans over $2 a geriatric-psychiatric unit with 12 beds. Twenty- million but not over $5 million, the maximum is 80 per- five new jobs will be created and 93 jobs saved as a cent; and for loans in excess of $5 million, the maxi- result of this loan. mum is 70 percent.Page 16 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Maximum repayment terms are 7 years for working Website Informationcapital, 15 years (or useful life) for machinery andequipment, and 30 years for real estate. Collateral must http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/b&i_gar.htmbe sufficient to protect the interests of the lender and Contact Informationthe government and usually include personal and/orcorporate guarantees. Carolyn Parker, Division Director National Program OfficeA minimum of 10 percent tangible balance sheet equity Business and Industry Divisionis required for existing businesses, and 20 percent for USDA, Rural Business-Cooperative Servicenew businesses. Feasibility studies may be required. 1400 Independence Ave, SWThe interest rate is negotiated between the lender and Washington, DC 20250-0700borrower and may be fixed or variable. The lender ad- Phone: (202) 690-4103dresses the business adequacy of equity, cash flow, col- Fax: (202) 720-6003lateral, history, management, and the current status ofthe industry in a written credit analysis. Lenders areexpected to service, and if necessary, liquidate loans,with USDA’s Rural Development’s concurrence.Eligibility, Uses, and RestrictionsB&I loans can be guaranteed in rural areas outside ofcities with a population of 50,000 or more and in theimmediately adjacent urbanized area. Priority is givento applications for loans in rural communities of 25,000or less.Any legal entity—including individuals, public or pri-vate organizations, and federally recognized Indiantribal groups—may borrow funds. Charitable, religiousor fraternal institutions or organizations cannot bor-row money. Local economic development organiza-tions and investors can also be considered. There is nosize restriction on the business. Inability to obtain othercredit is not a requirement.Authorized lenders include federal or state charteredbanks, credit unions, insurance companies, savings andloan associations, the Farm Credit Bank, other FarmCredit System institutions with direct lending author-ity, and nontraditional lenders approved on an individ-ual lender basis.Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 17
    • Certified Development Company Program (504 CDC under SBA) Stimulating job creation by providing fixed asset financing to small firms to construct or rehabilitate owner-occupied or leased premisesProject Basics The SBA is secured by a second lien. The SBA also re- quires personal guaranties from all people who own 20The 504 Certified Development Company (504 CDC) percent or more of the small business borrower.Program of the U.S. Small Business Administration(SBA) makes loans available to growing businesses SBA regulations specify limits on fees that must bewith long-term, fixed-rate financing for major fixed as- paid in connection with SBA financing.sets through SBA Certified Development Companies(CDCs). Eligibility, Uses and RestrictionsLoans can be used to acquire land, buildings, machin- To be eligible, a business must be a for-profit corpo-ery, and equipment; and for building, modernizing, ren- ration, partnership, or proprietorship. Under the 504ovating, or restoring existing facilities and sites. Program, the business qualifies if its net worth does not exceed $8.5 million, and its average net profit af-CDCs are private, nonprofit corporations whose pur- ter taxes does not exceed $3 million in the previous 2pose is to contribute to the economic development of years. Loans cannot be made to businesses engaged intheir communities by assisting small businesses. There speculation, investment in rental real estate, gambling,are about 270 CDCs nationwide. lending, or nonprofit concerns.Although the total size of projects using CDC financing Loan proceeds may be used for fixed asset projectsis unlimited, the maximum amount of SBA participa- such as:tion in any individual project ranges from $1.5 millionto $2 million (if it meets one of SBA’s public policy • Buying existing buildingsgoals) and up to $4 million for qualified small manu- • Buying land in connection with the construction offacturers or for qualified small businesses with a proj- a buildingect that is reducing energy consumption by 10 percentor that generates renewable energy or renewable fuels. • Making land improvements such as grading, streetTypical projects range from $500,000 to $2 million, improvements, utilities, parking lots and landscapingwith the average project totaling $1 million. The aver- • Constructionage SBA participation in any project is $595,000. • Modernizing, renovating or converting existing fa-Application and Financial Information cilitiesInitial contact should be made through a local CDC. • Buying machinery and equipment with a useful lifeInterest rates are based on the current market rate for of at least 10 years5- and 10-year U.S. Treasury issues, plus an incrementabove the Treasury rate, based on market conditions. • Paying interest on interim financingMaturities of 10 and 20 years are available. Repaymentis made in monthly, level-debt installments. • Paying professional fees directly attributable to the project, such as surveying, engineering, architect,Collateral typically includes a mortgage on the land appraisal, legal, and accounting feesand the building being financed, liens on machinery,equipment and fixtures, and lease assignments. Private The 504 Program cannot be used for working capital orsector lenders are secured by a first lien on the project. inventory, consolidating or repaying debt, refinancing,Page 18 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • or financing a plant not located in the United States, itsterritories, and possessions.ContactContact your local chamber of commerce or the eco-nomic development authority in your city, county, orstate government who can identify local Certified De-velopment Companies. You may also call any SBADistrict office for assistance in locating a Certified De-velopment Company.Check the telephone directory under “United StatesGovernment” for the nearest SBA office or call theSmall Business Answer Desk (800) U-ASK-SBA. Forthe hearing impaired, the TDD number is (704) 344-6640.Websitehttp://www.sba.gov/services/financialassistance/sbaloantopics/cdc504/index.htmlBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page 19
    • Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program Providing grants to develop community food projects in low-income areasProgram Basics All proposal guidelines and submission deadlines are outlined in the Request for Applications. FormalThis program supports the development of community proposals are submitted through www.grants.gov to thefood projects designed to meet the food needs of low- National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) ofincome people; to increase the self-reliance of commu- USDA. Grant awards are announced within 5 monthsnities in providing for their own needs; and to promote from the deadline for submission of proposals.comprehensive responses to local food, farm, and nu-trition issues. It also supports efforts to meet specific Proposals are reviewed by NIFA staff members withstate, local, or neighborhood food and agriculture needs the assistance and advice of peer specialists and arefor improving and developing infrastructure; planning evaluated on the basis of multiple criteria including thefor long-term solutions; or creating innovative market- project’s ability to:ing activities that mutually benefit agricultural produc-ers and low-income consumers. • Help facilitate low-income people in the proposed community to provide for their own food needsOther objectives of the program are to: develop link-ages between two or more sectors of the food system; • Promote comprehensive responses to local food,support the development of entrepreneurial projects; farm, and nutrition needsdevelop innovative linkages between the for-profit and • Become self-sustaining once federal funding endsnonprofit food sectors; and encourage long-term plan-ning activities and multi-system, inter-agency collabo- Also reviewed will be the organizational and staffration. qualifications and experience of the sponsoring orga- nization and the extent to which the proposed projectA match of 50 percent non-federal support of the proj- contributes to:ect (dollar for dollar) is required during the term of thegrant. The non-federal share may be provided through • Developing linkages between two or more sectorspayment in cash or in-kind contributions in the form of of the food systemfairly evaluated facilities, equipment, or services. The • Supporting the development of entrepreneurialnon-federal share may be derived from state or local projectsgovernments, or from private sources. • Developing innovative linkages between the for-Project Examples profit and nonprofit food sectorsCan be seen at the Food Security Learning Center at • Encouraging long-term planning activities andhttp://www.worldhungeryear.org/cfp/ multi-system, interagency approachesApplication and Financial Information • Incorporating linkages to one or more ongoingEach year the Community Food Projects program USDA themes or initiatives referred to in the pro-guidelines are published on www.grants.gov. The pro- gram guidelines and/or annual proposal solicitationgram also maintains a list of people who will be noti- Proposals must also indicate that projects have the dol-fied by e-mail about the start of the solicitation period. lar-for-dollar match from non-federal sources that areYou may ask to be placed on this email notification list required for this program. Projects may be funded forby calling or e-mailing etuckermanty@nifa.usda.gov. 1 to 3 years. Past grants have ranged from $10,000 toPage 20 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • $300,000. It is anticipated that it will be funded at $5 • Expanded economic opportunities for communitymillion each year through fiscal year 2012. residents through local business or other economic development, improved employment opportunities,Eligibility, Uses, and Restrictions job training, youth apprenticeship, school-to-workProposals may be submitted by private nonprofit enti- transition, and the liketies for projects involving low-income people. Becauseprojects must promote comprehensive responses to lo- Any solution proposed must address community foodcal food, farm, and nutrition issues, applicants are en- needs.couraged to seek and create partnerships among public, Websiteprivate nonprofit and private for-profit organizations orfirms. http://www.nifa.usda.gov/funding/cfp/cfp.htmlTo be competitive for a grant, a private nonprofit ap- Contactplicant should meet three requirements: Dr. Elizabeth Tuckermanty, Program Director• Have experience in the area of: National Program Office USDA-NIFA, Stop 2241• Community food work, particularly concerning Washington, DC 20250-2241 small and medium-sized farms, including the pro- Phone: (202) 205-0241 vision of food to people in low-income communi- E-mail: etuckermanty@nifa.usda.gov ties and the development of new markets in low- income communities for agricultural producers• Job training and business development activities in low-income communities• Demonstrate competency to implement a project, provide fiscal accountability and oversight, col- lect data, and prepare reports and other appropriate documentation• Demonstrate a willingness to share information with researchers, practitioners, and other interested partiesCommunity food projects are intended to take a com-prehensive approach to developing long-term solu-tions that help to ensure food security in communitiesby linking the food sector to community development,economic opportunity, and environmental enhance-ment. Comprehensive solutions may include elementssuch as:• Improved access to high quality, affordable food among low-income households• Support for local food systems, from urban garden- ing to local farms that provide high quality fresh food, ideally with minimal adverse environmental impactBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page 21
    • Community Wood Energy Program Supporting community wood energy planningProgram Basics Eligibility, Uses, and RestrictionsThe Community Wood Energy Program creates a new The Community Wood Energy Program will provideprogram to provide state, tribal, and local governments competitive grants and/or direct technical assistance tosupport in developing community wood energy plans. encourage the development of community wood en-Competitive grants are also available to acquire com- ergy plans and/or acquire or upgrade community woodmunity wood energy systems and/or technical assis- energy systems.tance for public facilities that use woody biomass asthe primary fuel. Assistance will be directed to state, tribal, and local governments. To ensure sustainability of wood energyThe program can provide support for conducting a systems within the capacity of the landscape, a commu-woody biomass resource assessments and designing a nity wood energy plan will be required before programmonitoring plan. Assistance includes expanding an un- dollars can be used to acquire equipment.derstanding of the technology available to achieve thebest thermal efficiency to convert wood fuel for heat- Contact Informationing and cooling of buildings. This assistance can also US Forest Serviceinclude combined heat and power systems. The pro- State and Private Forestrygram affords an opportunity to better use wood from 1400 Independence Ave., SWforest management activities, wood collected from Washington, D.C. 20250-0003municipalities (thus saving landfill space), and woody Phone: (202) 205-1657material from diseased and storm-damaged trees andconstruction sites. These are ongoing activities that canyield valuable sources of fuel to help offset the demandfor fossil fuels.Project ExamplesAs of this printing, the agency has not received anydollars to implement the program. For more informa-tion related to this topic area visit http://www.forestsandrangelands.gov/Woody_Biomass/.Application and Financial InformationGrants will support systems that are smaller than 5 mil-lion btu per hour for heating and/or 2 megawatts forelectric power production as directed by statute. Atleast a 50 percent match is required from non-federalfunds for grants. Technical assistance will be based onprevious work and commitment to future work dem-onstrated by the applicant. The program is authorizedto be funded at $5 million annually when funded. Nofunds were appropriated for Fiscal Year 2010. Grantawards are limited to $50,000 by statute.Page 22 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Conservation Loan and Loan Guarantee Program Providing direct or guaranteed conservation loans to qualified borrowersProgram Basics USDA is to give strong consideration to applicants who are on waiting lists to receive Farm Bill conservationThe 2008 Farm Bill creates a newly revised loan au- program financial assistance.thority for USDA’s Farm Service Agency to providedirect or guaranteed conservation loans to qualified Direct and guaranteed conservation loans operate un-borrowers. Eligible farmers or ranchers, including der the same rules and loan limitations as regular directfarmer cooperatives, private corporations, partnerships, and guaranteed FSA farm ownership loans with two ex-or limited liability companies, can apply for a loan to ceptions. First, for guaranteed loans the Farm Servicecover the costs of: Agency can guarantee no more than 75 percent of the principal amount of the loan, a lower rate than normal.“Qualified conservation projects” such as: Second, for both direct and guaranteed loans, the bor-• Installation of conservation structures or water con- rower does not have to be a family-sized farm, does not servation systems have to demonstrate an inability to secure credit from private, commercial sources at reasonable terms, and• Establishment of forest cover does not have to apply for commercial credit during the term of the loan should it become available at reason-• Establishment of permanent pasture able terms.• Conservation practices needed to comply with Website highly erodible land “compliance” requirements The Conservation Loans program is administered byConservation buffer practices such as: the Farm Service Agency of USDA. Information about• Grassed waterways the program will be posted on the FSA website: www. fsa.usda.gov• Shelterbelts For information and applications, go to your FSA re-• Windbreaks gional Service Centers or to your state FSA office. You• Riparian buffers and filterstrips can locate all of the contact information by clicking on your state at http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/• Living snow fences, and other similar vegetative app?state=us&agency=fsa practices Contact InformationA conservation project is “qualified” for a loan if it isincluded in a conservation plan that is approved by the Mike HintonNatural Resources Conservation Service. Direct Loan Branch Chief Farm Service AgencyThe 2008 Farm Bill also establishes a priority for the mike.hinton@usda.govconservation loan program for qualified beginning or 202-720-1472socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, owners ortenants that use the loans to convert to sustainable or Bob Bonnetorganic agricultural production systems, and producers Guaranteed Loan Branch Chiefwho use the loans to build conservation structures or Farm Service Agencyestablish conservation practices to comply with highly bob.bonnet@usda.goverodible land “compliance” regulations. In addition, 202- 720-3889Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 23
    • Conservation Innovation Grant Program (CIG) Funding innovative agricultural conservation projects through EQIP grantsProgram Basics The Food Alliance (PA) $350,000The Conservation Innovation Grant program (CIG) Food Alliance is partnering with the Pennsylvania As-is a voluntary conservation program under the Envi- sociation for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) to intro-ronmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). It duce a highly successful sustainable agriculture certi-is intended to stimulate development and adoption fication program in Pennsylvania, and improve waterof innovative conservation approaches in agricul- quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The purposetural production, while leveraging federal invest- of the project is to replicate a successful market in-ment in environmental enhancement and protection. centive for conservation to promote improvements inUnder CIG, EQIP funds are used to award com- management of agricultural lands in Pennsylvania topetitive grants to non-federal governmental or non- benefit water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.governmental organizations, tribes, or individuals. University of Puerto Rico, Estación ExperimentalUSDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Agrícola (PR) $153,150(NRCS administers EQIP and therefore CIG. CIG al- This grant’s purpose is to validate and demonstrate thelows NRCS to work with other public and private enti- use of windrow composting to manage agricultural or-ties to accelerate technology transfer and adoption of ganic residues as a resource for nutrients and organicpromising approaches to address natural resource con- carbon in Puerto Rico.cerns. CIG benefits agricultural producers by provid-ing more options for environmental enhancement and Application and Financial Informationcompliance with federal, state, and local regulations. Applications are accepted from all 50 States, the Carib-Legislative Changes bean Area, and the Pacific Islands Area (Guam, Ameri- can Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the NorthernThis subprogram was first authorized in the 2002 Farm Mariana Islands). Selected applicants may receiveBill. The 2008 Farm Bill added forest management as grants of up to 50 percent of the total project cost. Ap-an activity eligible for the CIG program. Projects that plicants must provide non-federal funding for at leastinvolve specialty crop producers or that use innovative 50 percent of the project cost, of which up to one-halftechnologies and cost-effective methods to address air (25 percent of the total project cost) may come fromquality problems are also now expressly included in the in-kind contributions.program. A 50 percent cap on the federal share of CIGproject costs has now been removed. CIG provides programmatic exceptions for historically underserved groups to help ensure that these groupsProject Examples benefit from innovative technologies and approaches.Bat Conservation International, Inc (AZ) $220,000 Each year, up to 10 percent of CIG funds may be set aside for applicants who are beginning or socially-The project stimulates the adoption of innovative con- disadvantaged farmers or ranchers, or federally-recog-servation approaches related to bats and regional agri- nized Indian tribes, or community-based organizationscultural production. This initiative uses a partnership- comprising or representing these entities. Matchingbased model to implement priority actions explicitly funds for grants awarded to any of these groups mayidentified by Western Bat Working Group; US Fish & consist of up to 75 percent in-kind contributions.Wildlife species recovery plans and multiple SouthwestState Wildlife Action Plans.Page 24 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Total funding level for all CIG purposes is left to the Websitediscretion of USDA. In Fiscal Year 2009 (FY09), CIGwas appropriated at $18 million, funding 55 projects http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/cig/around the nation. However, the 2008 Farm Bill also Contact Informationsets aside $37.5 million of EQIP funds annually fromFY09 through FY12 ($150 million in total) specifically Gregorio Cruz, CIG Program Managerfor CIG projects that address air quality. Congress di- Phone: 202-720-2335rects the funding to projects that help producers complywith federal, state or local air quality problems, includ- Tim Beard, EQIP Program Managering air pollution from mobile and stationary equipment Phone: 202-690-2621such as irrigation water pump engines. Edward Brzostek, EQIP SpecialistEligibility, Uses and Restrictions Phone: 202-720-1834CIG has two major components: National and State. ed.brzostek@usda.govThe National Component emphasizes projects thathave a goal of providing benefits over a large geo- Mark Parson, EQIP Specialistgraphic area. These projects may be watershed based, Phone: 202-720-1840regional, multi-State, or nationwide in scope. The State mark.parson@wdc.usda.govComponent provides funds to individual producersand smaller organizations that may possess promising Access your state NRCS State Conservationist officeinnovations, but may not compete well on the larger at this website: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/about/scale of the national grants competition. organization/regions.html#stateThe natural resource concerns eligible for fundingthrough CIG are announced through an Announcementfor Program Funding, and may change annually. ForFY 2009, four CIG categories were offered. The firstof these was the Natural Resource Category, whichplaced emphasis on six natural resource concerns; Wa-ter Resources; Soil Resources; Atmospheric Resourc-es; Grazing Land; Forest Health; and Wildlife Habitat.The second category was the National TechnologyCategory which placed emphasis on: Improved On-Farm Energy Efficiency, Water Management, ImprovedNutrient Management to Improve Water Quality, andAir Quality. The third category was Grant Leverag-ing Category; its objective was to pilot the leverag-ing of CIG grant projects that provide further grantsthat align with the purposes of CIG. The fourth cate-gory was the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Category.Proposals demonstrated the use of innovative technolo-gies or approaches, or both, to address one or more ofthe three above-listed categories, but specific to andwithin the Chesapeake Bay watershed. These catego-ries also included proposals that focused on MarketBased Approaches.Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 25
    • Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Conserving soil, water, and wildlife by temporarily removing land from agricultural productionProgram Basics Eligible Producers – To be eligible for CRP enrollment, a producer must have owned or operated the land forThe primary purposes of the Conservation Reserve at least 12 months prior to close of the CRP sign-upProgram (CRP) are to conserve and improve the soil, period, unless:water, and wildlife resources by temporarily remov-ing land from agricultural production. Under the CRP • The new owner acquired the land due to the previ-general sign-up provision, USDA offers annual rental ous owner’s death;payments and cost-share assistance to farmers to es-tablish long-term conserving cover, primarily grasses • The ownership change occurred due to foreclo-and trees, on land that has been in row crop production. sure where the owner exercised a timely right orUSDA periodically holds general sign-ups, and land is redemption in accordance with state law; orbid into the program on a competitive basis, with rank- • The circumstances of acquisition offer adequate as-ing based on environmental benefits and cost. surance to FSA that the new owner did not acquireThe CRP also has a continuous signup provision, the land for the purpose of placing it in CRP.known as the Continuous CRP (CCRP) and sometimes Eligible Land – To be eligible for placement in CRP,referred to as the CRP buffer initiative. CCRP pays land must be either:farmers to establish riparian buffers, grass waterways,contour grass strips, and other specific partial field con- • Cropland (including field margins) that is plantedservation practices on land in agricultural production. or considered planted to an agricultural commodityFarmers and landowners may enroll land on which 4 of the previous 6 crop years, and which is physi-those partial field practices will be adopted at any time. cally and legally capable of being planted in a nor- mal manner to an agricultural commodity; orIn addition, USDA may enter into a Conservation Re-serve Enhancement Program (CREP) agreement with • Certain marginal pastureland enrolled in the Watera state, under which the state provides funding, in ad- Bank Program or suitable for use as a riparian buf-dition to federal CRP funding, for farmers to address fer or for similar water quality purposes.targeted conservation issues in the state. Ranking CRP Land Enrollment Offers – Offers for CRPAll CRP contracts between USDA and agricultural contracts are ranked according to the Environmentallandowners are for 10 to 15 years, with the longer Benefits Index (EBI). Each eligible offer is rankedagreements for land planted to trees. The USDA Farm in comparison to all other offers and selections madeService Agency (FSA) administers the CRP, with the from that ranking. FSA currently uses the followingNatural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) pro- EBI factors to assess the environmental benefits for theviding technical land eligibility determinations, con- land offered:servation planning and practice implementation. State • Wildlife habitat benefits resulting from covers onforestry agencies also provide some technical support. contract acreage;1. CRP General Sign-Up • Water quality benefits from reduced erosion, run-Farmers can apply for CRP general sign-up enrollment off, and leaching;only during designated sign-up periods. USDA ac- • On-farm benefits from reduced erosion;cepts land into the CRP based on a competitive biddingprocess. For information on upcoming general sign- • Benefits that will likely endure beyond the contractups, farmers should contact their local FSA office. period;Page 26 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • • Air quality benefits from reduced wind erosion; and wildlife habitat buffers, wetland buffers, filter strips, wetland restoration, grass waterways, shelterbelts, liv-• Cost. ing snow fences, contour grass strips, salt tolerant veg-General CRP Contracts: CRP contracts generally re- etation and shallow water areas for wildlife.quire farmers to establish and maintain the conserva- CCRP Payments – In addition to cost share assistancetion practices specified in the contract for ten years. For to establish practices and annual rental payments, FSAconservation practices such as tree planting that may provides certain CCRP continuous sign-up participantsrequire more time, the contracts run for 15 years.CRP with special incentives, including a bonus of up to 20Payments – FSA provides CRP participants with an- percent on rental rates for windbreaks, filter strips,nual rental payments, including certain incentive pay- grass waterways, and riparian buffers, a 10 percentments, and cost-share assistance: rental rate bonus for land located in EPA-designated• Rental Payments: FSA bases rental rates on the wellhead protection areas, and upfront sign-up bonus relative productivity of the soils within each coun- of $100 per acre and 40 percent bonus on cost share ty and the average dryland cash rent or cash-rent assistance for some but not all eligible CCRP practices. equivalent. The maximum CRP rental rate for each It is possible FSA will extend the bonus payments to offer is calculated in advance of enrollment. Pro- additional practices, in keeping with the Statement of ducers may offer land at that rate or offer a lower the Managers of the 2008 Farm Bill. rental rate to increase the likelihood that their offer State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) – In Jan- will be accepted. uary 2008, USDA launched a new administrative initia-• Maintenance Incentive Payments: CRP annual tive as a continuous CRP practice called State Acres for rental payments may include an additional amount Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE). Under SAFE, projects up to $5 per acre per year as an incentive to perform are developed to benefit threatened, endangered and certain maintenance obligations. other high-priority species. Unlike CREP (see below), the SAFE initiative does not require an agreement be-• Cost-share Assistance: FSA provides cost-share tween USDA and a state but does generally involve assistance to participants who establish approved state or tribal agencies and conservation groups work- cover on eligible cropland. The cost-share assis- ing with USDA to develop projects. But like the CREP, tance cannot exceed 50 percent of the participants’ SAFE projects are limited geographically. Farmers costs in establishing approved practices. should contact their local FSA office to for information about SAFE projects in their locality. Farmers enroll2. Continuous CRP (CCRP) Sign-Up land under SAFE project contracts with similar termsFarmers may apply to their local FSA office for enroll- to CCRP contracts.ment in the CCRP at any time. Offers that meet eligi- 3. Conservation Reserve Enhancement Programbility requirements are automatically accepted and are (CREP)not subject to competitive bidding. The CCRP allowsfarmers to enroll partial fields, or occasionally whole The CREP is based on partnership agreements betweenfields, in conjunction with working agricultural land. the USDA and state or tribal governments and may also involve non-governmental organizations that provideEligible Producers and Land – Eligibility is the same funding or conservation services. CREP agreementsas for regular CRP, except that land within an Envi- address high-priority conservation issues of both localronmental Protection Agency (EPA)-designated public and national significance, such as impacts to water sup-wellhead area may also be eligible for enrollment on a plies or loss of critical habitat for threatened and endan-continuous basis. gered wildlife species or fish populations. Each CREPEligible Practices – The CCRP pays farmers to imple- has its geographic limitations, acreage cap, and speci-ment conservation practices that improve the con- fied conservation practices. Generally farmers whoservation performance of agricultural working land. meet the eligibility requirements of a particular CREPCurrently, these practices include: riparian buffers,Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 27
    • can enroll any time until the acreage requirements ofthe CREP have been met.Eligible Land — CREP agreements are limited to spe-cific geographic areas and to farmland where specificconservation practices are suitable to dealing with theconservation issues identified in the CRP. Farmersshould contact their local county FSA office to deter-mine if land in their state and county is involved in aCREP.CREP Payments — Like regular CRP, CREP contractsare from 10 to 15 years. CREP participants receive thefederal annual rental payment, maintenance incentivepayment, and up to 50 percent cost-share. In addition,a CREP generally includes a sign-up incentive for par-ticipants to install specific practices. State and tribalgovernments and non-governmental organizations mayalso provide additional payments. For example, manystates offer to pay for permanent easements on riparianor wetland buffers or other practices or environmental-ly sensitive land of specific relevance to the particularCREP project.Websitewww.fsa.usda.gov (click on Conservation Programs)To find your local office, click on http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=us&agency=fsaContact InformationBeverly J. PrestonFSA Program ManagerPhone: 202-720-9563beverly.preston@usda.govAstor BoozerNRCS National Program ManagerPhone: 202-720-0242astor.boozer@usda.govPage 28 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) Helping and rewarding farmers and ranchers who maintain and continue conservation practicesProgram Basics prior to 2008 but then put under crop cultivation is inel- igible unless: 1) it was previously enrolled in the CRP;The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is a 2) the land was managed under a long-term crop rota-comprehensive working lands conservation program tion; or 3) is an incidental portion of the land.designed to protect and improve natural resources andthe environment. CSP provides technical and financial Eligible land includes all acres of an agricultural opera-assistance to farmers and ranchers to actively man- tion under the effective control of a producer, whetherage and maintain existing conservation systems and to or not it is contiguous, and whether it is owned or rent-implement additional conservation activities on land in ed. Applicants must enroll all acres that they operate.agricultural production. CSP targets funding to: NRCS has established up to 5 priority resources of con-• Address particular resources of concern in a given cern for each watershed or region in the country. To watershed or region qualify for CSP, farmers and ranchers must:• Assist farmers and ranchers to improve soil, water, • meet the “stewardship threshold” (a standard that and air quality NRCS sets for improving a natural resource’s long- term sustainability) for one priority resource of• Provide increased biodiversity and wildlife and concern; and pollinator habitat • meet or exceed the stewardship threshold for at• Sequester carbon to mitigate climate change least one additional priority resource concern by• Conserve water and energy. the end of the 5-year contract.Unlike its predecessor program, the Conservation Se- Applicants must certify in writing the accuracy of theircurity Program, the CSP authorized in the 2008 Farm conservation benchmark inventory and that two yearsBill has a new nationwide, continuous sign-up so farm- of written records or documentation are available anders and ranchers anywhere in the country can apply any being used to manage their conservation system.year and at any time of the year. Periodically during the The CSP Applicant and Land Eligibility Self-As-year, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service sessment form, as well as resource-specific indices(NRCS) – which administers CSP –ranks applications such as the Soil and Water Quality Assessment Tooland develops contracts with those farmers and ranchers or the Rangeland Health Assessment Tool, are usedwith the highest rankings until funding for that ranking to help rank proposals and determine payment rates.period is exhausted. The Farm Bill provides sufficient Both are available electronically from the national andfunding to enroll nearly 13 million acres in CSP each state NRCS websites and local NRCS offices.year. Ranking Criteria — NRCS periodically ranks all pro-Eligibility, Uses and Restrictions posals it receives and funds proposals by ranking, untilEligible Land – Private agricultural land, including all funding is allocated. The ranking system is essen-cropland, pasture, and rangeland, is eligible to be en- tially based on how much farmers and ranchers haverolled in CSP with the exception of land currently en- already done, and how much more they are willing torolled in the Conservation Reserve, Wetland Reserve, do, to address natural resource concerns. Primary rank-or Grassland Reserve Programs (CRP, WRP, and GRP). ing factors are:In addition, land not cropped for four of the six years 1. The extent of the baseline level of conservation onBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page 29
    • the ground at the time of enrollment. amounts vary greatly, from lower cost rangeland im- provement contracts to mid-range pasture contracts to2. The degree to which proposed new conservation ac- higher range cropland contracts. tivities address the priority resources and improve conservation outcomes over baseline levels; Annual payments are made after October 1 every year. Payments to maintain and actively manage existing3. The total number of priority resource concerns ad- conservation activities begin in the fiscal year follow- dressed to meet or exceed the stewardship thresh- ing enrollment. Payments and payment adjustments old; for newly implemented activities can begin once im-4. The extent to which other natural resource concerns, plementation of those activities occurs. in addition to those identified as priority resource Contracts — Applicants accepted through the rank- concerns, are addressed; and ing process immediately become eligible for technical5. The extent to which the environmental benefits from assistance to finalize CSP conservation plans and help the contract are provided at the least cost relative to implement new conservation activities. All CSP con- other similarly beneficial contracts. tracts are 5 years, with an option to renew for another 5 years if a farmer or rancher has met the terms of theFarmers who do not rank highly enough to get into CSP preceding contract and is willing to adopt additionalthe first time they submit an application can resubmit conservation activities or solve additional resourcefor the very next ranking date. concerns. Farmers or ranchers should work with their NRCS office to outline their existing conservation ac-Application and Financial Information tivities and new proposed new activities.Payments – CSP pays producers to improve, maintain Organic Farming – Organic farmers can benefit enor-and actively manage conservation activities in place at mously from the CSP’s supplemental payment provi-the time of application and to adopt new conservation sion for resource-conserving crop rotations as well asactivities during the contract term. Payment amounts from the emphasis in the ranking criteria on compre-are determined by these factors: hensive resource and environmental farming systems.• Costs incurred by the farmer or rancher for the plan- USDA is also required to ensure that CSP will ben- ning, design, materials, installation, labor, manage- efit organic farming and ranching systems, including ment, maintenance or training; providing outreach and technical assistance to organic farmers and ranchers. USDA also must create a trans-• Income forgone by the farmer or rancher; parent process that allows such producers to coordinate• Expected environmental benefits the conservation their organic certification process with participation in activities will provide. Farmers willing to adopt CSP, including coordination of organic plans and CSP resource-conserving crop rotations, such as cover conservation plans. crops, forages, green manures, catch crops, etc., can seek supplemental payments. Optional payments Website are also available for participating in special CSP on-farm research, demonstration, and pilot testing www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/csp/ of alternative conservation activities.Payments are capped at $40,000 per year. All payments Contact Informationare attributed to the real persons who are the ultimate Dwayne Howardbeneficiaries, even if payments are made to legal busi- CSP National Program Managerness entities such as partnerships, subchapter C corpo- Phone: (202) 720-3524rations, LLCs, etc. Dwayne.Howard@wdc.usda.govNationwide, payments (including the costs of techni-cal assistance) average $18 an acre. However, paymentPage 30 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) Supporting local and regional conservation practices through partnershipsProgram Basics • Producer associations;The Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative • Farmer cooperatives;(CCPI) supports special local and regional conserva-tion projects that involve groups of farmers or ranch- • Institutions of higher education; orers in partnership with USDA, farm, conservation and • Nongovernmental organizations.other non-governmental organizations, state and tribalagencies, and/or other entities. Required Information for Applications – A CCPI part- nership agreement must include:The CCPI ensures specific attention to state and localconservation priorities and concerns, with 90 percent of • Description of the conservation objectives to bethe funds and acres reserved for projects chosen by the achieved;NRCS State Conservationist, in consultation with the • Expected level of participation by agricultural pro-NRCS State Technical Committees. The USDA Secre- ducers in the area to be covered;tary is directed to use the remaining 10 percent of thefunding for multi-state CCPI projects selected through • Partnership to be developed;a national competitive process. Project partnershipagreements with USDA can run for up to 5 years. • Amount of funding requested;Key Aspects of the New CCPI • Amount of non-Federal contributions (in cash or in kind) that will be brought to the table; andThe CCPI funds projects with the following purposes: • Plan for monitoring, evaluating, and reporting on• Addressing conservation priorities on a local, state, progress made towards achieving the objectives. multi-state or regional level; Priorities for Project Selection – NRCS will give prior-• Encouraging producers to cooperate in meeting ap- ity to applications that— plicable federal, state and local regulatory require- ments; • Have a high percentage of agricultural producers involved;• Encouraging producers to cooperate in the installa- tion and maintenance of conservation practices that • Significantly leverage non-Federal financial and affect multiple operations; or technical resources and coordinate with other local, State, or Federal efforts;• Promoting the development and demonstration of innovative conservation practices and methods for • Deliver high percentages of applied conservation; delivering conservation services, including those or for specialty crop and organic producers. • Provide innovation in conservation methods andEligibility and Application Information delivery, including outcome-based performance measures and methods.Farmers and ranchers may enter into partnershipswhich include one or more of the following: Technical and Financial Assistance• States and local governments; To implement the Initiative, the 2008 Farm Bill directs USDA to reserve 6 percent of the total funds or total• Indian tribes;Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 31
    • acres, for each of the fiscal years 2009 through 2012, to organic grass-based cattle operations. The projectfrom the Conservation Stewardship Program, the Envi- assigns various tasks to the organizational partners.ronmental Quality Incentives Program and the Wildlife The watershed council takes the lead in submitting aHabitat Incentive Program. This translates into over CCPI application to the NRCS State Conservationist to$100 million a year being available for special coop- designate $10,000,000 in EQIP funds and $250,000 inerative conservation projects. WHIP funds to the project. The State Conservationist approves the projects and sets aside the approved fund-NRCS is directed to provide appropriate technical and ing for producers participating in the project. Producersfinancial assistance to producers participating in the participating in the project and meeting program quali-project in an amount determined to be necessary to fications apply for and are enrolled in EQIP and WHIPachieve the project objectives. without having to go through individual program rank-NRCS will ensure that basic rules for conservation pro- ing processes.grams apply, such as rules governing appeals, paymentlimitations, and conservation compliance. Beyond Websitethose basic rules, special partnership projects may ap-ply for, and NRCS may approve, adjustments to the http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/ccpi/CSP, EQIP, or WHIP program practices, specificationsor payment rates to: Access your state NRCS office here: http://www.nrcs. usda.gov/about/organization/regions.html#state• Better reflect unique local circumstances and pur- poses; and Contact Information• Provide preferential enrollment to producers who are eligible for the applicable program and who are Mark S. Parson participating in a CCPI partnership project. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service EQIP Program SpecialistCCPI projects may include funding and programmatic 1400 Independence Ave. SW Room 5227aspects from multiple eligible programs, for instance, Washington, DC 20250CSP and WHIP or EQIP and CSP. It is also possible Phone: 202-720-1840in a given location that a CCPI special project might mark.parson@wdc.usda.govdovetail with a Conservation Reserve EnhancementProgram (CREP) or Wetlands Reserve EnhancementProgram (WREP) project, such that the land retirementaspect of a project comes via the CREP or WREP andthe working lands aspect of the project comes throughthe CCPI.Example of a CCPI Special ProjectThe Statement of the Managers in the 2008 Farm BillConference Report provided the following example ofa possible CCPI partnership project:A cannery has closed and, without a cannery, nearbyorchards are going out of business. A local watershedcouncil joins with partners such as a State university,a wildlife organization and an organic growers’ coop-erative. They develop a project proposal to improvewater quality and wildlife habitat by working withinterested local producers to transition their orchardsPage 32 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Cooperative Extension System (CES) Linking research and outreach of land-grant institutions to local and state needsProgram Basics Accessing informationThe Cooperative Extension System (CES) is a nation- Call or visit a local office to talk directly to an Ex-wide, non-credit educational network that links re- tension staff person. Find the office nearest you at:search and outreach programs of land-grant institutions http://www.nifa.usda.gov/Extension/index.htmlto state and local needs. CES draws on the expertise ofthousands of people. State Extension Specialists, who Typically, a state-level publications office has a list ofare also university faculty, provide in-depth informa- all currently available extension publications in thattion on a variety of technical subjects; approximately state. In some locations, diagnostic services are avail-9,000 local Extension educators staff, nearly 3,000 able for soil testing and farm or garden pests.county offices in every state and territory, and hun- The Cooperative Extension System also supports thedreds of thousands of trained volunteers work locally eXtension Web site (http://www.extension.org/), aon Master Gardener, 4-H and other programs. coordinated, Internet-based information system whereThrough the National Institute of Food and Agriculture customers have round-the-clock access to trustworthy,(NIFA), the Federal Government provides annual fund- balanced views of specialized information and educa-ing to CES, but local and state funds are its primary tion on a wide range of topics. For customers, the valuesupport, and the structure and services it provides are will be personalized, validated information address-largely determined at state and county levels. ing their specific questions, issues, and life events in an aggregated, non-duplicative approach. InformationCooperative Extension does not normally provide fi- on the eXtension Web site is organized into Communi-nancial assistance, but instead focuses on information ties of Practice organized around many topics, such asdelivery through the Internet, printed publications, diversity, entrepreneurship, agrosecurity, cotton, dairy,newsletters, broadcast media, staff presentations at and more. The eXtension Web site also includes a col-public meetings, and one-one-one assistance in person lection of news stories from partner institutions, a Fre-or by phone with information seekers. Most publica- quently Asked Questions section, a calendar of exten-tions and programs are free or at nominal cost. sion events, online-learning opportunities, and content feeds.Program Examples WebsitesOver the last century, Cooperative Extension has re-sponded to hundreds of thousands of questions and http://www.nifa.usda.gov/Extension/index.htmlinquiries on literally thousands of topics, as well asproactively delivering educational programs. CES has http://www.extension.org/adapted to changing times and continues to address awide range of human, plant, and animal needs in bothurban and rural areas, serving a growing, increasinglydiverse constituency with fewer and fewer resources.The type of information available is very comprehen-sive and usually tailored to local needs. Key programareas include: Agriculture, 4-H Youth Development,Natural Resources, Family and Consumer Sciences,and Community and Economic Development.Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 33
    • Direct Farm Ownership and Operating Loans Offering government loans to family farmers and ranchers for farm ownership and operating purposesProgram Basics tion, training or experience, have an acceptable credit history, and be or plan to become owners or operatorsThe purpose of the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) di- of family-sized farms. In addition, applicants request-rect farm ownership (FO) and operating loan (OL) pro- ing direct FO assistance must have participated in thegrams is to provide financing and assistance to family business operations of a farm or ranch for at least 3 offarmers and ranchers to establish farms and ranches, the 10 years prior to the date of the application.achieve financial success, and graduate to commercialcredit or self-financing. An applicant who applies for FO assistance must be a beginning farmer, one who has never received an FO,Project Examples or has not had a direct FO loan outstanding for more• A Mississippi farmer used an FSA annual operating than a total of 10 years prior to the date the new FO loan to purchase inputs required to produce row loan is closed. An applicant who applies for OL assis- crops, and a 7-year loan to purchase livestock and tance must be a beginning farmer, one who has never machinery. received OL assistance or received OL assistance in no more than a total of 7 years before the date of the pro-• An Idaho farmer received an FSA farm ownership posed loan. loan to finance the establishment of buffer strips along a creek running through the farm. FO loans may be used for acquiring or enlarging a farm or ranch, making capital improvements, paying closing• A farmer in Kentucky obtained an FSA operating costs, and paying for soil and water conservation im- loan to partially shift production out of a tradi- provements, including sustainable agriculture practices tional yet unprofitable cropping pattern and into an and systems. alternative enterprise for which there was a special- ized local market. OLs may be used to pay the costs of reorganizing a farm or ranch, buy livestock or equipment, buy supplies, fi-Application and Financial Information nance conservation costs, pay closing costs, comply with requirements under the Occupational Safety andApplicants must apply for direct loan assistance at an Health Act of 1970, pay tuition for borrower trainingFSA county office or USDA Service Center. FSA of- classes, refinance indebtedness under certain condi-ficials will meet with the applicant to assess all aspects tions, and provide farm and family living expenses.of the proposed or existing farming or ranching opera-tion to determine if the applicant meets the eligibility OL repayment schedules are based on the loan purposerequirements. and the projected ability to repay the loan. Payments can be in equal or unequal installments, and the firstThe loan recipient must meet certain eligibility require- payment is due when income is received. Standard FOments, request funds for authorized purposes, be able loans may be made for up to 40 years. Interest rates areto repay and to provide enough collateral to secure the calculated monthly, and are the lowest rates in effectloan on at least a dollar-for-dollar basis. at the time of loan approval or loan closing. A limitedEligibility, Uses, and Restrictions resource OL interest rate is available to applicants who are unable to develop a feasible farm plan at regularEligible borrowers must be U.S. citizens, US non-citi- interest rates. Loans may be made for up to $300,000.zen national or qualified aliens, unable to obtain creditthrough commercial sources, have sufficient educa-Page 34 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • A portion of available loan funds is reserved for minor-ity farmers and beginning farmers. “Beginning farmer”is defined in part as an applicant who has not operateda farm or ranch for more than 10 years. For beginningfarm ownership loans, borrowers may not own acreageexceeding 30 percent of the median acreage for farmsin the county.Websitewww.fsa.usda.gov/dafl/directloans.htmContact InformationFSA is organized on a national, state, and county basis.Applicants apply directly through local FSA county of-fices or USDA Service Centers. Individuals can locatethe nearest FSA office by checking in the telephonewhite pages under U.S. Government, Department ofAgriculture, Farm Service Agency.Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 35
    • Downpayment Farm Ownership Loan Program Offering a special loan program to assist beginning farmers and ranchers and socially disadvantaged applicants purchase a farmProgram Basics • Financing provided by FSA and all other creditors must not exceed 95% of the purchase price or ap-The Farm Service Agency (FSA) has a special down praised value of the farm or ranch, whichever is thepayment farm ownership (FO) loan program to help lesser, and FSA can provide up to a 95 percent guar-beginning farmers and ranchers and socially disadvan- antee if financing is obtained from a commercialtaged applicants (SDA) buy a farm or ranch. This pro- lender. Participating lenders do not have to pay agram also helps retiring farmers transfer their land to a guarantee fee.future generation of farmers and ranchers. • Financing from participating lenders must have anApplication and Financial Information amortization period of at least 30 years and can-FSA may provide a maximum amount equal to 45 not have a balloon payment due within the first 20percent of the purchase price or appraised value, or years of the loan.$500.000, whichever is lower. The term of the loan is Note: Applicants for direct FO loans must have partici-20 years at a fixed interest rate 4 percent below the di- pated in the business operations of a farm or ranch forrect FO rate and not lower than 1.5 percent. The repay- at least 3 of the past 10 years. If the applicant is a busi-ment period is scheduled in equal, annual installments ness entity, all members must be related by blood orfor a term not to exceed 20 years. marriage, and all must be beginning farmers or ranch-The maximum loan amount financed by FSA is ers. For entity SDA applicants, the majority interest$225,000. A producer can apply for beginning farmer must be held by socially disadvantaged individuals.and rancher downpayment FO loan assistance at the Also, all entity members must materially and substan-FSA county office serving the county where the opera- tially participate in the operation of the farm or ranch.tion is located or at a USDA Service Center. WebsiteEligibility, Uses, and Restrictions http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?area=home&suA beginning farmer or rancher is an individual or entity bject=fmlp&topic=bflwho (1) has not operated a farm or ranch for more than Contact Information10 years; (2) meets the loan eligibility requirements ofthe program to which he/she is applying; (3) materi- FSA is organized on a national, state, and county basis.ally and substantially participates in the operation of Applicants apply directly through the county or USDAthe farm; and, (4) for FO loan purposes, does not own Service Center. Individuals can locate the nearest FSAa farm bigger than 30 percent of the median acreage office by checking in the telephone white pages underof the farms in the county. Socially disadvantaged ap- U.S. Government, Department of Agriculture, Farmplicants include American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Service Agency.Asians, African Americans, Native Hawaiians or otherPacific Islanders, Hispanics and women.To qualify:• An applicant must make a cash down payment of at least 5 percent of the purchase price.Page 36 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)Providing technical, financial, and educational assistance to farmers and ranchers to address significant natural resource concerns and objectivesProgram Basics North Dakota – Soil Health. The County Local Work Group requested Cover Crops be included in the EQIPThe Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) practice list for 2007. The request was approved andwas reauthorized in the Food, Conservation, and En- during the next EQIP batching period a total of 31ergy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill) to provide a voluntary contracts were approved, 15 of the contracts includedconservation program for farmers and ranchers that Cover Crops. The first year’s response has been verypromotes agricultural production, forest management, positive. Farmers and ranchers incorporated the coverand environmental quality as compatible national crops into their no-till systems and are using them togoals. EQIP offers financial and technical help to assist address specific resource concerns: crop diversity, soileligible participants install or implement structural and organic matter, nutrient cycling, surface litter, moisturemanagement practices on eligible agricultural land and management, pest management, water quality, wildlife,nonindustrial private forest land. and livestock forage. Most of the Cover Crops wereEQIP offers financial assistance to implement conser- grown in combinations or “cocktails”, which have nu-vation practices. The minimum term of these contracts merous Soil Health benefits. Cover Crops are also be-ends 1 year after the implementation of the last sched- ing used as a bridge to integrate the no-till croppinguled practices; a maximum term is 10 years. systems and rotational grazing systems.EQIP activities are carried out according to an environ- California – Air Quality. Air Quality Initiative for Sanmental quality incentives program plan of operations Joaquin Valley Farmers announced in FY 2007. Thisdeveloped in conjunction with the producer. The plan new 3-year proposal combines technical and cost shareidentifies the appropriate conservation practice or prac- assistance through the USDA’s Natural Resources Con-tices to address the resource concerns. The practices are servation Service (NRCS). NRCS would oversee thesubject to NRCS technical standards adapted for local initiative using both conservation technical assistanceconditions. as well as its Environmental Quality Incentives Pro- gram (EQIP), which shares the cost of structures andProject Examples practices that farmers undertake to protect natural re- sources. USDA made some money available in AugustKansas – Plant and Animal Health. An EQIP par- to fund a portion of California’s backlog of eligible ap-ticipant, Woodson County, Kansas, knew she needed plications to voluntarily improve air quality. Since theto do something. Brush of blackberry, sumac, multi- California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR)flora rose, dogwood, and post oak trees had produced and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control Dis-a canopy on 15 percent of the ground contributing to trict will soon be requiring agricultural growers to re-poor grass growth. Her stocking rate on the ranch had duce on-farm emissions of smog-producing Volatiledropped 20 to 25 percent over the last few years. Pro- Organic Compounds (VOC’s), there is a heightenedducer wanted to increase her herd and stabilize her need to help producers now to meet the mandate.land values. After a visit to the NRCS office, a planrecommended cross-fencing, grazing rotation plan, and Application and Financial Informationprescribed burns with aerial herbicide applications forbrush management. The producer was approved for an EQIP may share up to 75 percent of the costs of cer-EQIP contract and was eligible to receive an extra in- tain conservation practices. Payments for managementcentive payment. practices may be provided for up to 3 years for incurred costs and income foregone.Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 37
    • However, socially disadvantaged producers, limited- Websiteresource producers and beginning farmers and ranchersmay be eligible for cost-shares for up to 90 percent. www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip/Farmers and ranchers may elect to use a certified third- Contactparty provider for technical assistance. Edward Brzostek or Mark ParsonThe new Farm Bill established a new payment limita- EQIP specialists. National Program Officetion for individuals or legal entity participants who may Environmental Quality Incentives Programnot receive, directly or indirectly, payments that, in the PO Box 2890aggregate, exceed $300,000 for all program contracts Washington, DC 20013-2890entered during any six year period. Projects determined Phone: (202) 720- 1834 or (202) 720-1840as having special environmental significance may, with edward.brzostek@wdc.usda.govapproval of the NRCS Chief, have the payment limita- mark.parson@wdc.usda.govtion raised to a maximum of $450,000.EQIP provides financial assistance for up to 75 per-cent of the cost of vegetative and structural conserva-tion practices, such as grassed waterways, filter strips,manure management facilities, and wildlife habitat en-hancement. Contract applications are accepted through-out the year.EQIP payments may also be made for managementpractices for up to three years. Examples of manage-ment practices include nutrient management, manuremanagement, integrated pest management, irrigationwater management, grazing management, and wildlifehabitat management.Eligibility, Uses, and RestrictionsOnly people who are engaged in agricultural, forestry,or livestock production or are owners of such land canapply for this program. Eligible land includes cropland,rangeland, pasture, nonindustrial private forest land,and other farm or ranch lands.All activities under this program must work towardconservation of natural resources. All approved appli-cants are responsible for developing and submitting aconservation plan that will address the situation on theapplicant’s land relevant to the identified conservationneeds or objectives that are to be addressed.For Fiscal Year 2009 (FY09), EQIP was funded at$1.07 billion, and in FY10 at $1.18 billion. Both years’appropriations reflected cuts from levels authorized inthe 2008 Farm Bill.Page 38 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) Providing funding to acquire conservation easements on farm and ranch lands to prohibit conversion of lands to nonagricultural usesProgram Basics provide the matching funds, administer the acquisition process, monitor the easement, and enforce the ease-The Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) ment deed.(formerly known as the Farmland Protection Program)provides funds to help purchase rights to keep produc- The state conservationist may consult with the NRCStive farm and ranch land in agricultural use. Using ex- State Technical Committee to assign weights to nation-isting programs, USDA works through eligible State, ally-mandated ranking factors, and develop and assignTribal, or local governments or nongovernmental orga- weights to state ranking factors. The state conserva-nizations (cooperating entities) to acquire conservation tionist reviews the requests for participation by usingeasements from interested landowners. USDA provides a ranking system based on USDA priorities to protectup to 50 percent of the appraised fair market value of the most valuable land threatened by development. Thethe conservation easement. Cooperating entities must ranking system includes such factors as:provide at least 50 percent of the appraised fair marketvalue. • The quality of the land by evaluating the productiv- ity of the soils;For the FRPP, a conservation easement is an assignedright prohibiting any development, subdivision, or • Economic viability of the farm or ranch;practice that would damage the agricultural value or • Loss of farm and ranch land in the surrounding area;productivity of the farmland. It is legally recorded in anagreement between a landowner and a qualified organi- • Developmental pressure in the area;zation and restricts land to agriculture and open space • Proximity of the farm or ranch to other protecteduse. Restrictions on land use may qualify the land for a land; andreal estate tax deduction. • Other factors including its historical, scenic, andThe FRPP was designed to help protect quality farm- environmental qualities.land in the face of urban growth. Since 1960, an aver-age of 1 million acres of farmland has been converted Eligibility, Uses, and Restrictionsto other uses each year, often resulting in permanentloss of valuable topsoil and agricultural land. To qualify, farm and ranch land must:Application and Financial Information • Contain prime, unique, or other productive soil, historical and archaeological resources, or landApplications will be accepted from cooperating enti- that supports the policies of a State or local farm orties on a continuous basis by each NRCS State Office. ranch land protection program;Applications will be ranked one or more times duringa fiscal year and cooperative agreements developed • Be part of a pending offer from an eligible State,with the cooperating entities associated with the farms Tribal, or local government or a nongovernmentaland ranches selected for funding. If you are consid- organization;ering participation in the FRPP, contact your Natural • Be privately owned;Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) state conser-vationist for a list of cooperating entities that partici- • Have a conservation plan for the highly erodiblepate in your state. Only cooperating entities may sub- land on the farm or ranch;mit applications because the cooperating entities must • Be large enough to sustain agricultural production;Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 39
    • • Be accessible to markets for what the land produces; • Demonstrate the availability of funds equal to at least 50 percent of the estimated fair market value• Have adequate infrastructure and agricultural sup- of the conservation easement (including landowner port services; donation);• Have surrounding parcels of land that can support • Have a title and appraisal policy; and long-term agricultural production. • Have a pending offer(s) on a parcel(s).The pending offer must be for the purpose of protect-ing agricultural uses and related conservation values by Congress has authorized $743 million in FRPP fundinglimiting non-agricultural uses of the land. from 2008 to 2012. Future opportunities for funding will be published as a notice in the Federal Register.The NRCS will not enroll land that is owned in fee titleby an agency of the United States or a State, Tribal, Websiteor local government or nongovernmental organization;or land that is already subject to an easement or deed www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/frpp/restriction that limits the conversion of the land to non- Contactagricultural use. The NRCS will not enroll otherwiseeligible lands in which it determines that the protection Robert Glennon, Managerprovided by FRPP would not be effective because of Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Programon-site or off-site conditions such as hazardous materi- Phone: (202) 720-9476als or development in close proximity to the parcel. E-mail: Robert.Glennon@wdc.usda.govTo be selected for participation in the FRPP, a pendingoffer must provide for the acquisition of a permanenteasement.To qualify, landowners must:• Meet the requirements for adjusted gross income (AGI) provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill; and• Be in compliance with the highly erodible land (HEL) and wetland conservation (WC) provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill.To qualify as eligible entities, State, Tribal, and lo-cal governments and non-governmental organizationsmust:• Demonstrate a commitment to long-term conserva- tion of agricultural or ranch lands through the use of voluntary conservation easements that protect farm or ranch lands from conversion to nonagricul- tural uses;• Demonstrate a capability to acquire, manage, and enforce conservation easements;• Demonstrate staff capacity that will be dedicated to monitoring and conservation easement steward- ship;Page 40 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP)Providing women, infants and children with the opportunity to buy and consume fresh, local fruits, vegetables, and herbs directly from farmersProgram Basics Project ExamplesThe FMNP is associated with the Special Supplemental The FMNP benefits both recipients and farmers. In FYNutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, 2007, the program served just over 2.3 million WICpopularly known as WIC, that provides supplemental participants. In addition, FMNP recipients purchasedfoods, health care referrals, and nutrition education at over $20 million worth of fresh produce from overno cost to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and 15,000 farmers at just over 3,200 farmers’ marketsnon-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and 2,300 roadside stands authorized to accept FMNPand children up to 5 years of age, who are found to be coupons.at nutritional risk. Application and Financial InformationThe FMNP was established by Congress in July 1992,to provide fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown Grants for administering the program are made to statefruits and vegetables from farmers’ markets to WIC health, agriculture, and other agencies (or Indian tribes,participants, and to expand the awareness, use of, and bands, or intertribal councils or groups recognizedsales at farmers’ markets. It is administered through a by the Department of the Interior). Participating statefederal/state partnership in which the Food and Nutri- agencies must initiate the process by applying for par-tion Service (FNS) provides cash grants to state agen- ticipation in the program.cies. The FMNP is currently administered by 45 state Federal funds support 100 percent of the program’sagencies such as state agriculture departments or health food cost and 70 percent of its administrative cost.departments or Indian Tribal Organizations. States operating the FMNP must match the federalEligible WIC participants are issued FMNP coupons in funds allocated to them by contributing at least 30 per-addition to their regular WIC food instruments. These cent of the administrative cost of the program. Indiancoupons are used to buy fresh, unprepared locally state agencies may receive a lower match, but not lessgrown fruits, vegetables and herbs from farmers or than 10 percent of the administrative cost of the pro-farmers’ markets that have been approved by the state gram. The matching funds can come from a variety ofagency to accept FMNP coupons. The federal food sources, such as state and local funds, private funds,benefit level for FMNP recipients may not be less than similar programs, and program income.$10 and no more than $30 per year, per recipient. How- For Fiscal Year 2010, Congress provided $20 millionever, state agencies may supplement the benefit level for the FMNP.with state funds. Farmers or farmers’ markets autho-rized to accept FMNP coupons submit the coupons for Eligibility, Uses, and Restrictionsreimbursement. As a prerequisite to receiving federal funds for theNutrition education is provided to FMNP recipients by FMNP, each applying or participating state agency mustthe state agency. This information encourages FMNP submit a state plan describing the manner in which therecipients to improve and expand their diets by adding state agency intends to implement, operate, and admin-fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as educates them ister all aspects of the FMNP within its jurisdiction.on how to select, store, and prepare the fresh fruits andvegetables they buy with their FMNP coupons. New state agencies are selected based on evaluation criteria and the availability of funds. Local FMNP sitesBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page 41
    • are selected by participating state agencies based on Headquartersconcentration of eligible WIC participants and access Patricia N. Daniels, Directorto farmers’ markets. Supplemental Food Programs Division Food and Nutrition ServiceWomen, infants (over 4 months old), and children that U.S. Department of Agricultureare certified to receive WIC Program benefits or who Phone: (703) 305-2746are on a waiting list for WIC certification are eligibleto participate in the FMNP. State agencies may servesome or all of these categories.Each state agency is responsible for authorizing indi-vidual farmers, farmers’ markets, or both. State agen-cies have the option to authorize roadside stands. Onlyfarmers and/or farmers’ markets authorized by the stateagency may accept and redeem FMNP coupons. Indi-viduals who exclusively sell produce grown by some-one else, such as wholesale distributors, cannot be au-thorized to participate in the FMNP.Websitewww.fns.usda.gov/wic/FMNP/FMNPfaqs.htmRegional ContactsMaureen Rankin, Regional DirectorNortheast RegionPhone: (617) 565-6440Diana Torrice, Regional DirectorMidAtlantic RegionPhone: (609) 259-5100Sandy Benton-Davis, Regional DirectorSoutheast RegionPhone: (404) 562-7100Elvira Jarka, Regional DirectorMidwest RegionPhone: (312) 886-6625Sondra Ralph, Regional DirectorSouthwest RegionPhone: (214) 290-9812Jean Liekhus, Regional DirectorMountain Plains RegionPhone: (303) 844-0331Rich Proulx, Regional DirectorWestern RegionPhone: (415) 705-1313Page 42 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Farmers’ Market Promotion Program (FMPP) Encouraging the development, promotion and expansion of direct marketingProgram Basics Eligibility, Uses and RestrictionsThe Farmers’ Market Promotion Program (FMPP) is Entities eligible to apply for FMPP funds are agricul-designed to help promote the domestic consumption of tural cooperatives, producer networks, or producer as-agricultural commodities by expanding direct produc- sociations; local governments; nonprofit corporations;er-to-consumer marketing opportunities. FMPP was public benefit corporations; economic developmentcreated in the 2002 Farm Bill, but it was not funded un- corporations; regional farmers’ market authorities; andtil 2006. Approximately $1 million was awarded each Tribal governments. All applicant corporations mustyear in 2006 and 2007. With the passage of the 2008 be domestic entities, i.e., owned, operated, and locatedFarm Bill, FMPP grant funds were increased to over $3 within one or more of the 50 United States and the Dis-million, awarded in late September 2008, and FMPP trict of Columbia only. Individuals are not eligible tohas received $5 million for fiscal years 2009 and 2010; apply.$10 million is expected in fiscal years 2011 and 2012. Eligible grant uses include:Project Examples a) Improving Access to Relevant Marketing and Fi-Sample projects that were awarded FMPP funds in- nancial Information;clude: b) Consumer-Based Education and Market Access;a) establishing new electronic benefit transfers and (EBT), debit, and credit payment systems at farm- ers’ markets; c) Innovative Approaches to Market Operations and Management.b) creating agricultural marketing cooperatives; Not less than 10 percent of the grant funds in a fiscalc) researching farmers’ and customers’ needs and cre- year shall be used to support new projects for federal ating educations programs to meet those needs; nutrition programs at farmers’ markets. and, FMPP Funds cannot be used to pay for: a) the acquisi-d) establishing and creating new producer-only tion of land or the acquisition, construction, rehabilita- farmers’ markets. tion, or repair of a building or facility; b) the devel- opment of and/or participation in political or lobbyingApplication and Financial Information activities; and, c) any activities prohibited by 7 CFRApplications must include a proposal narrative, supple- parts 3015 and 3019.mental budget, and three forms that can be found in the WebsiteFMPP Guidelines at www.ams.usda.gov/FMPP. Pro-posed projects should be 24 months in duration, begin- http://www.ams.usda.gov/FMPPning in October. ContactThe maximum award per grant is $100,000, but may beincreased in FY-2011. Matching funds are not required. Carmen H. HumphreyAMS will announce awards in September of each year. USDA, AMS, Marketing Services Division Phone: (202) 720-8317 E-mail: Carmen.Humphrey@usda.govBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page 43
    • Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP) Matching grants for marketing agricultural products through state departments of agricultureProgram Basics Oklahoma - $56,365 to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, in cooperation withThe Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program Oklahoma State University, Kerr Center for Sustain-(FSMIP) provides matching funds, on a competitive ba- able Agriculture and the Oklahoma State Departmentsis, to state departments of agriculture and similar state of Education, to develop food distribution models foragencies to study or develop innovative approaches for small, medium and large producers, and to create safemarketing agricultural products. Federal funds totaling handling guidelines to foster use of locally grown and$1.3 million have been provided for this program in the produced food products in school systems throughoutUSDA budget in recent years. the state.FSMIP funds can be requested for a wide range of re- New Mexico - $58,550 to the New Mexico Departmentsearch and service work aimed at improving the mar- of Agriculture, in cooperation with New Mexico Stateketing system or identifying new market opportunities University, the New Mexico Chile Commission and in-for agricultural, horticultural and viticultural products; dustry partners, to develop a comprehensive regionaldairy products; livestock and poultry products; bees; marketing program for red chilies.forest products; fish and shellfish; and value-added pro-cessed products. New Mexico - $46,545 to New Mexico State University to assess the national market for New Mexico-grownAlthough all proposals that meet the matching funds natural dye plants and natural dye plant products.requirement and fall within FSMIP guidelines will beconsidered, states are especially encouraged to develop North Carolina - $61,400 to the North Carolina De-projects involving partnerships with producer groups, partment of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in co-academia, community-based organizations, or other operation with North Carolina State University and thestates to address practical marketing problems faced by North Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association,small- and medium-scale producers. to determine key factors that influence current and anticipated consumer purchases of nursery productsProject Examples and landscape services to help the state’s nursery sectorKentucky - $33,375 to the Kentucky Department of update its marketing strategies and better plan futureAgriculture, in cooperation with Kentucky State Uni- product and service offerings.versity and Western Kentucky University, to improve Application and Financial Informationthe accuracy and usefulness of U.S. market goatgrades to provide graders and buyers with a more accu- In recent years, available funds have been allocated torate tool for evaluating live goats and give producers about 25 to 30 projects annually. Lists of the projectsan economic incentive to improve the quality of their by state, and the amounts of federal funds provided forgoats. each project during the past 5 years can be viewed on the Internet at www.ams.usda.gov/tmd/fsmip.htm.Maryland - $50,000 to the University of MarylandSchool of Nursing, in cooperation with the Maryland Funds are allocated on the basis of one round of com-Department of Agriculture, several non-profit organi- petition annually. The deadline for submitting applica-zations and others, to facilitate increased use of lo- tions is usually mid-February, awards generally are an-cally produced foods in Maryland hospitals. nounced in July, and funds are available in September.Page 44 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Eligibility, Uses, and RestrictionsOnly state departments of agriculture and similar stateagencies are eligible to apply for direct funding. How-ever, others, including producer associations, economicdevelopment groups, academia, and nonprofit organi-zations, are encouraged to work with their state depart-ments of agriculture to develop FSMIP proposals.FSMIP will not approve use of grant funds for most ad-vertising and promotion. FSMIP is not designed to sup-port long-term, basic research or, with limited excep-tions, to support capital improvements or equipmentpurchases. See the website for additional restrictions.Websitewww.ams.usda.gov/FSMIPContact InformationOrganizations interested in developing a proposalshould contact their state department of agriculture orthe national program office for additional informationand guidance.Janise Zygmont1400 Independence Ave.SW Room 2646-SWashington, DC 20250Phone: 202-720-8043Janise.zygmont@usda.govBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page 45
    • Forest Biomass for Energy (FBE) Funding projects that support converting biomass into renewable energyProgram Basics dependent on available funds. Either multiple- or sin- gle-year funding awards can have a no-cost extensionAuthorized under section 9012 of the 2008 Farm Bill, up to one year.the Forest Biomass for Energy program provides a newcompetitive research and development program to en- The Forest Biomass for Energy program has authorizedcourage use of forest biomass for energy. The program appropriations of up to $15 million annually for FYis administered by USDA’s Forest Service. 2009 to 2012. No funds were appropriated for Fiscal Year 2010. Individual project funding is expected to beProject Examples in the range of $500,000 to $1,000,000.As of this printing, the agency has not developed guide- Eligibility, Uses, and Restrictionslines to implement the program. Thus, it has not dis-bursed funds for any projects. Priority will be given to projects that: (1) develop tech- nology and techniques to use low-value forest biomass,Priority project areas include: such as byproducts of forest health treatments and haz-1) Developing technology and techniques to use low- ardous fuels reduction, for the production of energy; (2) value forest biomass--such as byproducts of forest develop processes that integrate production of energy health treatments and hazardous fuels reduction-- from forest biomass into biorefineries or other existing for energy production; manufacturing streams; (3) develop new transportation fuels from forest biomass; and (4) improve the growth2) Developing processes to integrate energy produc- and yield of trees intended for renewable energy pro- tion from forest biomass into biorefineries or other duction. existing manufacturing streams; Applicants must be affiliated with Forest Service Re-3) Developing new transportation fuels from forest search and Development, other Federal agencies, State biomass; and improving growth and yield of trees and local governments, Indian tribes, land-grant col- intended for renewable energy. leges and universities, or private entities including for- profit and non-profit organizations.Application and Financial Information Contact InformationPre-proposals will be used for initial screening, usinga peer review panel of scientific and technical experts The principal contact at the U.S. Forest Service isin the field. Full proposals will be requested from those Marilyn Bufordthat are selected in the pre-proposal review. Detailed Phone: (703) 605-5176evaluation criteria will be posted on a Forest Service mbuford@fs.fed.uswebsite. Primary application requirements will includerelevance to priorities identified in the announcementfor proposals; scientific quality and contribution of theproposed research; evidence of external collaboration;clearly defined outcomes, deliverables, and benefitsthat can be reported annually; and appropriateness/ad-equacy of proposed budget.Awards can be made for multiple-year funding upto three years with second- and third-year fundingPage 46 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Forest Legacy Program (FLP) Protecting environmentally important forests from conversion to nonforest usesProgram Basics by the Nature Conservancy. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency holds title to this property and man-Created by Congress in 1990, the Forest Legacy Pro- ages it for sustainable forestry and wildlife habitat pro-gram (FLP) supports states’ efforts to protect envi- tection.ronmentally sensitive, privately owned forestlandfrom conversion to non-forest uses. The FLP protects Sugar Hill, Minnesota- The Sugar Hills Project con-“working forests” that provide environmental servic- sists of a conservation easement acquisition on 1,659es and public benefits. FLP tracts can be managed for acres that are an outstanding example of a Northernsustainable timber production as well as water quality Rich Mesic Hardwood Forest, a community consideredand watershed protection, maintenance of open space, rare in Minnesota. The property contains 28 kilometersscenic lands, wildlife habitat and opportunities for out- of the best and most scenic cross-country ski trails indoor recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, and the Upper Midwest. This project is a partnership be-hiking. tween the Nature Conservancy, the Blandin Foundation of Grand Rapids, the Trust for Public Land, the StateParticipating states work with a variety of partners to of Minnesota, and many others. The landowners run aaccomplish the goals of the FLP. Conservation organi- family owned timber and forest products business thatzations such as The Nature Conservancy and The Trust has been operating in the Grand Rapids region for fourfor Public Land, as well as local non-profit land conser- generations. They are committed to ensuring the longvancies, help develop projects and leverage additional term sustainable management of northern Minne-dollars to complement federal money. Partners also sota forests for economic, environmental, and socialplay crucial roles in the pre- and post-acquisition work. benefits. The easement will protect the ski trails, pro-The program pays up to 75% of the project costs. States vide public recreational access, and continue the pro-and local government receive funds and hold title to duction of high value forest products.conservation easements or lands in fee simple. WebsiteLand enrolled in the Forest Legacy Program must re-main forested and requires a forest stewardship or http://www.fs.fed.us/spf/coop/multiple-use management plan. Since its inception, theForest Legacy Program has helped protect nearly 1.7 Contact Informationmillion acres in 48 states and territories. Kathryn ConantProject Examples National Forest Legacy Program Manager USDA Forest Service, Cooperative ForestryWalls of Jericho, Tennessee- The Walls of Jericho Phone: 202-401-4072(also called Cumberland Mountain) project entails mul- kconant@fs.fed.ustiple hardwood tracts that comprise nearly 15,000 acreson Carter Mountain in Franklin County, Tennessee andJackson County, Alabama. This area once formed theHarry Lee Carter estate and has attracted over three de-cades of public and private protection efforts. The sitecontains the highest concentration of cave ecosys-tems known in the world and has the highest subter-ranean invertebrate diversity in the world. The Wallsof Jericho Tract, a fee simple acquisition, was matchedwith a fee simple donation of the David Carter TractBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page 47
    • Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) Providing information on wood housing, forest products technologies, commercial opportunities, and current research and development programsProgram Basics Product Promotes Healthy Ecosystems and Ru- ral Economy - Western juniper and pinyon pine haveThe USDA Forest Service’s Forest Products Labora- spread over millions of acres of rangeland in the west,tory (FPL), established in 1910 in Madison, WI, is a lowering water tables and increasing erosion and pollu-centralized wood research laboratory and clearing- tion of streams and lakes. FPL’s Engineered Compos-house for information on uses of wood. FPL’s research ites Sciences unit developed a composite panel madeand demonstration programs are accomplished through from juniper and recycled high-density polyethylenecoordinated partnerships with industry, university, and plastic; creating a commercially valuable use for thesegovernment. species can help reduce their impact on the land. WithInnovations developed at FPL are patented and licensed the help of FPL’s Technology Marketing Unit, P&Mfor use in private companies for commercial applica- Signs, Inc., of Mountainair, New Mexico, now produc-tion. FPL’s Technology Marketing Unit helps transfer es Altree™ based on this research.information by matching customer needs with exist- Application and Financial Informationing research. The general public, industry, regulatoryagencies, state and private foresters, educators, and FPL staff provides information upon request, helpsother government agencies and organizations use FPL develop information needed, or suggests alternativeinformation to build better wood homes, solve wood sources of information or expertise. No financial as-use problems, or develop improved wood processing sistance is available, although some technologies needsystems. partners to demonstrate or evaluate them, and FPL helps private-sector partners find sources of capitalProject Examples either through other USDA agencies or participatingPartnership Aiming for Faster Research Results state government incentive programs.One major hurdle to wood durability research is the Websiteamount of time it takes to obtain results; studying mate-rials in real-life, or in-service, scenarios can take years. www.fpl.fs.fed.us/Researchers at FPL and the University of Wisconsinare developing methods that correlate in-service per- Contactformance of metal fasteners and controlled corrosion Gorden E. Blumexperiments in wood. This effort aims to develop a test One Gifford Pinchot Drivethat mimics corrosion behavior of metals in contact Madison, WI 53726-2398with treated wood without using actual wood speci- Phone: (608) 231-9200mens. Such a test would help rapidly evaluate the cor- gblum@fs.fed.usrosiveness of new wood preservatives.Promoting Commercial Success Through EconomicAnalysis - After having worked with a commercialpartner, Wyoming Sawmills, to develop value-addedlaminated lumber products from undesirable timbers,FPL economists created a computer program, calledLamLum, to analyze economics of laminated lumbermanufacturing facilities. The model is now availableto anyone interested in a business venture of this nature.Page 48 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Forest Stewardship Program (FSP)Helping private forest landowners develop plans for sustainable management of their forestsProgram Basics Delaware entered into partnership with the Maryland Forest Service, the Pinchot Institute and Sustain-About 49 percent of all forest land in the United able Solutions, LLC, to establish a spatial land regis-States—363 million acres—is under nonindustrial pri- try (SLR). This will enable small acreage landownersvate ownership, contributing significantly to America’s to do an online registration of their woodlands and beclean water and air, wildlife habitat, recreational re- combined with other similar landowners in the area tosources, and timber supplies. The Forest Stewardship qualify for carbon credit sales through the Bay Bank.Program (FSP) provides technical assistance, throughstate forestry agency partners, to nonindustrial private Application and Financial Informationforestland owners to encourage and enable active long-term forest management. The USDA Forest Service administers the FSP in part- nership with state forestry agencies. Contact a state for-A primary focus of the program is to develop com- estry agency for more information. For a list of stateprehensive, multi-resource management plans to give contacts, see www.stateforesters.org.landowners the information they need to manage theirforests for a variety of products and services. The plan- Eligibility, Uses, and Restrictionsning assistance offered through the Forest Stewardship Participation in the FSP is open to any non-industrialProgram may also provide landowners with enhanced private forest landowner who is committed to the activeaccess to other USDA conservation programs and/or management and stewardship of forested properties forforest certification programs. at least 10 years.Project Examples A landowner may be any private individual, group, as-The Broad Creek Memorial Scout Reservation (BC- sociation, corporation, Native American Tribe, or otherMSR), located between Baltimore and Philadelphia, private legal entity. There is no restriction on the maxi-contains about 1,800 acres of contiguous forests sur- mum number of acres owned, although some statesrounded by development pressures. The governing may have a minimum acreage requirement.Camp Conservation Committee (CCC) preferred pres- Websiteervation over conservation. However, after the firstStewardship plan was developed and the first timber http://www.fs.fed.us/na/sap/contactus/index.shtmlharvest was completed, the CCC realized the value www.stateforesters.orgof managing the forests and was encouraged by theresults. ContactPreparing a Forest Stewardship Plan helped to coordi- Karl Dalla Rosa, National Program Managernate efforts of local, state, and federal staff working on USDA Forest Serviceweed control in the Picture Canyon area in Arizona. Phone: (202) 205-6206Named for its many petroglyphs, this 55-acre area lo- E-mail: kdallarosa@fs.fed.uscated along a river had been seriously degraded by yel-low star thistle, scotch thistle, and bull thistle. Partici-pants learned to use a much wider array of managementactivities, including prescribed fire, herbicide applica-tion, and mechanical treatment to control the thistles.Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 49
    • Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) Increasing consumption of fresh and dried fruits and vegetables by U.S. schoolchildrenProgram Basics by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service at the national level. Within participating states, FFVP is administeredUSDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) through state education departments except in Texasaims to help combat childhood obesity by helping chil- and New Jersey, where it is administered by the statedren learn more healthful eating habits. The FFVP has agriculture departments.been successful in introducing school children to a va-riety of produce that they otherwise might not have had Participantsthe opportunity to sample. The 2008 Farm Bill authorized states to select partici-The various partnerships that USDA’s Food and Nutri- pating schools with a high proportion of low-incometion Service (FNS) and state agencies have developed students (at least 50 percent free and reduced price par-in the public and private sectors, as well as the dedi- ticipation). Every child in the selected school is eligiblecated work of school administrators, have contributed to participate. The program served 183,299 students into the overall success and acceptance of the program. Fiscal Year 2007 (FY07).The FFVP is consistent with and supports the recom- Budgetmendations of a 2007 report by the Institute of Medicine(IOM) to provide healthier snack choices in schools, The FFVP pays $50.00 to $75.00 per student. The 2008including fruits and vegetables. Farm Bill authorized funding of $40 million for Fiscal Year 2008 (FY08), $65 million for FY09, $101 millionDescription for FY10, and $150 million for FY11 and thereafter.• Provides free fresh fruits and vegetables throughout Website the school day in elementary schools. Participating schools are required to publicize the availability of http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/FFVP/FFVPdefault.htm the program to the student body. Contact• Teaches students about the importance of good nu- trition and promotes the consumption of fresh fruit Mara McElmurray and vegetables. National Child Nutrition Department Phone: 703-305-2688• Operates nationwide in selected schools with a high Mara.mcelmurray@fns.usda proportion of low-income students. Contact the state agencies administering the Child Nu-• Provides state agencies a specific level of funding trition Programs for more information. and allows them to select schools that meet criteria based on poverty indicators. http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Contacts/StateDirectory. htmBackgroundThe original FFVP started as a pilot program in 2002in four states (25 schools each) and selected schools inone Indian Tribal Organization. It became a permanentprogram in limited states in 2004 and was expanded toall 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, PuertoRico and the Virgin Islands in 2008. It is administeredPage 50 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) Helping landowners and operators restore and protect grassland, including rangeland, pastureland, and certain other lands, while maintaining the areas as grazing landsProgram Basics Easement payments for this option are determined by an appraisal done to USPAP standards.The Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) is a voluntaryprogram that emphasizes support for grazing opera- Cooperating entities may be State, Tribal, or local gov-tions, plant and animal biodiversity, and grassland and ernments or non-governments that meet eligibility cri-land containing shrubs and forbs under the greatest teria. The cooperating entities must administer the ac-threat of conversion. The program assists owners and quisition process and provide half of the purchase priceoperators to protect grazing uses and related conserva- of the easement. The purchase price is defined as thetion values by restoring and conserving eligible land fair market value of the easement minus the landownerthrough rental contracts, easements, and restoration donation.agreements. Rental contract. Participants can choose a 10-, 15-, orGRP is authorized by the Food Security Act of 1985, 20--year easement. FSA will provide annual paymentsas amended by the 2008 Farm Bill. The USDA Natural in an amount that is not more than 75 percent of theResources Conservation Service (NRCS) and USDA grazing value of the land covered by the agreement forFarm Service Agency (FSA) administer the program in the life of the agreement. Payments will be disbursedcooperation with the USDA Forest Service. on the agreement anniversary date each year. There is a $50,000 annual payment limitation for rental contracts.Participants voluntarily limit future use of the landwhile retaining the right to conduct common grazing Restoration agreement. If restoration is determinedpractices; produce hay, mow, or harvest for seed pro- necessary by NRCS, a restoration agreement will be in-duction (subject to certain restrictions during the nest- corporated within the rental contract or easement. Theing season of bird species that are in significant decline Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) will provide upor those that are protected under Federal or State law); to 50 percent of the restoration costs. Participants willand conduct fire rehabilitation and build firebreaks and be paid upon certification of the completion of the ap-fences. proved practice(s) by NRCS or an approved third party. Participants may contribute to the application of a cost-Application and Financial Information share practice through in-kind contributions. There isApplications may be filed for an easement or rental a $50,000 annual payment limitation for restorationcontract with the local NRCS or FSA office at any time agreements.during each year’s designated signup period. The pro- Funding comes from the CCC and the program is au-gram offers several enrollment options: thorized to enroll 1,220,000 acres through 2012. ThePermanent Easement Directly with Landowner. funds to enroll those acres will be appropriated annu-This is a conservation easement in perpetuity. Easement ally. The 2008 Farm Bill stipulates that 40 percent ofpayments for this option are determined by the lowest the funding must be used to enroll rental agreementsof: a fair market value determined by an appraisal or and 60 percent of the funding must be used to enrollarea wide market survey, a geographic area rate cap, or easements. Either CCC or the cooperating entity holdsan offer by the landowner. The fair market value of the the easement.easement will be the fair market value, less the grazing Applicants will be selected at the state level by thevalue of the land encumbered by the easement. NRCS State Conservationist and the FSA State Ex-Permanent Easement through a Cooperating En- ecutive Director. Selection criteria for each state willtity. This is a conservation easement in perpetuity. be made available upon request to the public beforeBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page 51
    • signup. Each state’s application selection criteria will Participants are required to follow a grazing manage-be available on the state’s NRCS Website. ment plan developed by NRCS (or a designated third party) and the participant to preserve the integrity ofEligibility, Uses, and Restrictions the grassland.Either easement option is available for application from Websitelandowners who can provide clear title. Landownersand others who have general control of the acreage may www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/GRP/apply for a rental contract.The Adjusted Gross Income provision of the 2008 Farm ContactBill affects eligibility for GRP and several other 2008Farm Bill programs. Individuals or entities that are not Elizabeth Crane, NRCSeligible to receive program benefits or payments if they Phone: (202) 720-0242have an average adjusted gross income exceeding $1.0 E-mail: Elizabeth.Crane@wdc.usda.govmillion for the 3 tax years immediately preceding theyear the contract is approved. Jim Williams, FSA Phone: (202) 720-9562However, an exemption is provided in cases where E-mail: jim.williams@wdc.usda.govtwo-thirds of the adjusted gross income is derived fromfarming, ranching, or forestry operations.Eligible land includes:• Grassland or land that contains forbs or shrubs (in- cluding improved rangeland and pastureland) for which grazing is the predominant use• Land that is located in an area that historically has been dominated by grassland, forbs, and shrubs and has potential to provide habitat for animal or plant populations of significant ecological value if the land is retained in its current use or restored to a natural condition.• Land that contains historical or archaeological re- sources;• Land that would address issues raised by State, re- gional, or national conservation priorities; or• Land that is incidental to land described in para- graph (1) or (2), if the incidental land is determined by the Secretary to be necessary for the efficient ad- ministration of a rental contract or easement under the program.Participants in GRP must meet Wetland and the High-ly Erodible Land Compliance provisions of the 2008Farm Bill.Page 52 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Guaranteed Farm Ownership and Operating Loans Offering federally guaranteed loans for family farmers for farm ownership, farm operation, and the purchase of stock in cooperativesProgram Basics Application and Financial InformationThe purpose of the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) guar- Applicants apply for agricultural loans as they nor-anteed farm ownership (FO) and guaranteed operating mally would with local commercial lenders that makeloan (OL) programs is to help family farmers obtain agricultural loans in their community. The lender ana-commercial credit to establish or maintain a family lyzes the farm customer’s business plan and financialfarm or ranch. FSA guarantees against potential loss of condition.the commercial loan at 90 percent of the loss of princi-pal and interest. A 95 percent guarantee is provided in If the farm loan proposal looks realistic, is financiallythe case of loans to refinance an existing direct FO or feasible, and there is sufficient collateral, but it cannotOL or for loans made in conjunction with a beginning be approved because it does not meet the lending in-farmer down payment loan. stitution’s loan underwriting standards, the lender may apply for an FSA loan guarantee.Farmers may also use FSA guaranteed loans to buystock in a member-owned cooperative. The cooperative In some cases, applicants may seek an FSA direct loancan be engaged in production, processing, packaging, first, but a guaranteed loan must always be consideredand/or marketing of agricultural and forest products. before a direct loan can be provided. Once an applicant provides all the financial and organizational informa-In some instances, a special interest rate assistance pro- tion to the lender, the lender submits a guaranteed loangram may be used in which FSA provides assistance application to the local FSA office and the request willto the lender to lower the interest rate. The interest as- be approved or disapproved within 30 days after receiptsistance is intended to assist farmers with low produc- of a complete application.tion or who suffered the effects of a natural disasteror adverse economic conditions get through a difficult The number of guaranteed loans that FSA can provideperiod and become financially viable. each year varies depending on the demand for loan guarantees and the amount of guarantee authority ap-Project Examples propriated by Congress.A beginning farmer working with a bank in Iowa ob- Eligibility, Uses, and Restrictionstained a 95-percent loan guarantee for an ownershiploan and operating loan made in conjunction with an To qualify for an FSA Guarantee, a loan applicant must:FSA down payment loan, enabling the bank to make a • Be a citizen of the United States (or legal residentloan it would not have without the federal guarantee. alien), which includes Puerto Rico, the U.S. VirginA rancher in California used an FSA guaranteed loan Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and certain for-to buy stock in a newly formed marketing cooperative mer Pacific Trust Territoriesthat processes and sells specially raised beef to Japan. • Have the legal capacity to incur the obligations ofA commercial lender in Ohio obtained an FSA guaran- the loantee on an operating loan to a farmer who will use inte- • Have a satisfactory credit history, demonstrate re-grated pest management (IPM) on a new agricultural payment ability, and provide sufficient securityenterprise. The guarantee was important to the lender,who was unfamiliar with IPM. • Have not had a previous Direct or Guaranteed LoanBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page 53
    • that resulted in a loss to FSA and not be delinquent Website on any federal debt, including outstanding recorded Federal judgments www.fsa.usda.gov/dafl/guaranteed.htm• Be unable to obtain sufficient credit elsewhere with Contact or without a guarantee at reasonable rates and terms FSA is organized on a national, state, and county basis. to finance needs However, guaranteed applications are accepted and• Be the operator of a family farm after the loan is processed only in county offices. Individuals should closed. For an FO, the producer needs to also own contact an agricultural lender but may also contact the the farm nearest FSA county office by checking in the telephone white pages under U.S. Government, Department ofFor guaranteed OL loans, authorized purposes include: Agriculture, Farm Service Agency.• Payment of costs associated with reorganizing a farm to improve its profitability• Purchase of livestock, equipment, quotas, and bas- es and cooperative stock for credit, production, pro- cessing, and marketing purposes• Real estate improvements that can be repaid within 7 years• Payment of annual operating expenses, processing or marketing purposes• Payment of costs for land and water development for conservation or use purposes• Payment of loan closing costs• Payment of other farm and home needs• Refinancing of debt incurred for any authorized OL purpose, when the lender and applicant can demon- strate the need to refinanceFor guaranteed FO loans, authorized purposes include:• Acquiring or enlarging a farm• Making capital improvements• Promoting soil and water conservation and protec- tion• Paying of loan closing costs• Refinancing debt incurred for authorized FO or OL purposes, provided the need for refinancing can be demonstratedPage 54 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Integrated Organic and Water Quality Program (IOWP) Exploring the changes in water quality associated with certified organic farming practicesProgram Basics (2) The impact of organic animal production systems on water quality.The Integrated Organic and Water Quality Program(IOWP) is a competitive grants program whose pur- (3) The impact of mixed use (crop and animal produc-pose is to explore the changes in water quality and/or tion systems) on water quality.water quantity associated with certified organic farm-ing practices. This program is a joint effort between the Project ExamplesNational Integrated Water Quality Program (NIWQP) This is a new competitive grants program area, so thereand the Organic Transition Program (OTP), both of the are no examples of previously funded projects.National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Application and Financial InformationUSDA is interested in funding comparisons betweencertified organic farms and traditional farms of sedi- There is no commitment by USDA to fund any particu-ment delivery, nutrient use and transport, and overall lar application or to make a specific number of awards.water availability at the farm or field scale. Availabil- The IOWP considers Integrated Research, Educationity is defined here as the joint consideration of water and Extension projects with a project period of 1 to 3quality and quantity. Projects are expected to com- years and a budget not to exceed $220,000 per year.bine physical measurements of soil and surface and/or The program was funded at $1.8 million for Fiscal Yeargroundwater conditions at the field or farm scale with 2009 (FY09) and $5 million for FY10.modeling information generated at the same spatial Eligibility, Uses, Restrictionsand temporal scale. Projects should demonstrate (usingfield and modeling information) benefits or challenges Colleges and universities are eligible to submit appli-to soil and water availability posed by implementing cations for the Integrated Organic and Water Qualitycertified organic practices. Program. Applications also may be submitted by 1994 Land-Grant Institutions, Hispanic-serving AgriculturalProjects that explore the linkage between surface wa- Colleges and Universities (HSACUs).ter and groundwater availability are encouraged. Suc-cessful projects must describe expected outcomes in Cost Sharing or Matchingterms of changes in knowledge, changes in behaviors,and changes in environmental conditions. All projects If a grant provides a particular benefit to a specific ag-must identify the cause of water resource degradation. ricultural commodity, the grant recipient is required toAll projects are expected to develop and implement provide funds awarded on a dollar-for-dollar basis froman evaluation plan that captures project outcomes and non-Federal sources with cash and/or in-kind contribu-demonstrates the impact of the project through mea- tions. NIFA may waive the matching funds require-sured improvements in water resources and/or measur- ment for a grant if NIFA determines that: (a) the resultsable behavior change. of the project, while of particular benefit to a specific agricultural commodity, are likely to be applicable toApplications are solicited for the IOWP under the fol- agricultural commodities generally; or (b) the projectlowing areas: involves a minor commodity, the project deals with sci- entifically important research, and the grant recipient is(1) The impact of organic cropping systems on water unable to satisfy the matching funds requirement. quality.Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 55
    • Websitewww.nifa.usda.govContactDr. Michael P. O’NeillNational Program Leader for Water Quality; NIFAPhone: (202) 205-5952E-mail: moneill@nifa.usda.govDr. Mary PeetNational Program Leader for Organic Agriculture/Horticulture; NIFAPhone: (202) 401-4202E-mail: mpeet@nifa.usda.govWebsitewww.nifa.usda.govPage 56 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Intermediary Relending Loan Program (IRP) Offering revolving loan funds for rural small business and community development projectsProgram Basics local farmers who grow hops and contract with brewer- ies for sale of their processed hops. The loan supportedThe Intermediary Relending Program (IRP) provides purchasing equipment and expanding facilities, provid-direct loans at 1 percent interest to intermediaries for ing the capacity to process a larger volume of hops.establishing revolving loan funds for small businessesand community development projects in rural areas. American Cedar, Inc., of Arkadelphia, AR, receivedIntermediaries are nonprofit organizations or public loans of $225,000 from a local revolving loan fund, par-agencies that relend money through loan pools to ulti- tially funded by IRP. American Cedar produces dimen-mate recipients, including businesses, individuals and sioned lumber, finished lumber, finished panels, closetothers such as Indian groups. Final recipients of loans accessories, decorative moth repellents, and customfrom IRP revolving loan funds involved in agricultural products for the domestic and international markets.production are not eligible. However, businesses pro-cessing, packaging, and marketing agricultural prod- Application and Financial Informationucts will be considered. Intermediaries with experience and expertise in runningProject Examples revolving loan funds apply to the USDA state offices of Rural Development. Applications are considered in aAs part of the Pacific Northwest Economic Adjustment quarterly national competition.Initiative, an IRP loan of $1.5 million supplementedan existing revolving loan fund for relending to small An intermediary may borrow up to $2 million underbusinesses in rural Jackson and Josephine counties its first financing and up to $1 million at a time there-in Oregon. Businesses that create or retain permanent after. Total aggregate debt is capped at $15 million. Injobs involving skills related to manufacturing, indus- recent years, loans to intermediaries have been cappedtrial production, and wood products are given prefer- at $750,000. Ultimate recipients may borrow up toence. Southern Oregon Regional Economic Develop- $250,000.ment, Inc., the intermediary, estimates that by targeting Loans to intermediaries average $812,000. Intermedi-a maximum of $20,000 per full-time equivalent job aries receive a 30-year loan with a fixed annual interestcreated or saved, the IRP loan will create or save at rate of 1 percent. The funding available for fiscal yearleast 50 jobs in the fund’s first round of loans in these 2002 was $38 million.communities. Intermediaries develop their own application proce-The North Kennebec Regional Planning Commis- dures for ultimate recipients.sion in Maine made a $150,000 working capital loanto KD Wood Products out of its revolving loan fund, Factors considered in judging applications from inter-created with a $2 million IRP loan. KD Wood Prod- mediaries include:ucts buys lumber from local sawmills and processes it • Financial conditioninto about 200 different products, including unfinishedfurniture and lawn and garden items, such as fences, • Assurance of repayment abilityedging, and planters. KD used the loan to expand itsoperations and create new jobs. • EquityIn Salem, Oregon, BC Hop Farms, Ltd. received a loan • Collateralfrom the local revolving loan fund established with IRP • Experience and record of managing a loanfunds. BC Hop Farms provides processing facilities forBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page 57
    • • A programmer providing other assistance to rural Website businesses http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/irp.htm• Ability to leverage with funds from other sources www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/irp.htm• The extent assistance would flow to low-income people ContactEligibility, Uses, and Restrictions For a list of intermediaries and their service areas, more detailed information, or an application, contact yourThe following entities are generally eligible to apply USDA state or district office of Rural Development.for loans from intermediary lenders provided they owe http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/recd_map.html.no delinquent debt to the Federal Government:- Individual citizens or individuals who have been legally admitted to the U.S.,- Those located in a rural area defined as an area with a population of 25,000 or less,- An entity that is able to incur debt, give security, and repay the loan,- A corporation, partnership, LLC, individual, non- profit corporation, public body.Nonprofit corporations, public agencies, Native Ameri-can tribes, and cooperatives are eligible to receive IRPfunds as intermediaries. Intermediaries must have ad-equate legal authority and a proven record of success-fully assisting rural businesses and industries.Both intermediaries and ultimate recipients must be un-able to obtain the loan at reasonable rates and termsthrough commercial credit or other federal, state, or lo-cal programs.Final recipients of loans from IRP revolving loan fundsinvolved in agricultural production are not eligible.However, businesses processing packaging and mar-keting agricultural products will be considered. Inter-mediaries may not use IRP funds to finance more than75 percent of the cost of an ultimate recipient’s projector for a loan of more than $250,000 to one ultimaterecipient.Page 58 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Loans for Socially Disadvantaged Persons Providing farm purchase and operating loans targeting socially disadvantaged producersProgram Basics (banks, savings and loans, insurance companies, and units of the Farm Credit System including the Bank forThe Farm Service Agency (FSA) makes direct and Cooperatives) and are guaranteed by FSA. Some stateguarantee loans to socially disadvantaged applicants to governments also operate farm loan programs that arebuy and operate family-size farms and ranches. Each eligible for FSA guarantees. Typically, FSA guaranteesfiscal year the Agency targets a portion of its direct and 90 or 95 percent of a loan against any loss that might beguaranteed farm ownership (FO) and operating loan incurred if the loan fails.(OL) funds to SDA farmers. Non-reserved funds canalso be used by SDA persons. Repayment terms for direct OL loans usually run from 1 to 7 years depending on the collateral securing the loanA socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher is one of a and the applicant’s ability to repay. Repayment termsgroup whose members have been subjected to racial, for direct FO loans vary and never exceed 40 years.ethnic, or gender prejudice because of their identityas members of the group, without regard to their indi- Guaranteed loan terms are set by the lender. Interestvidual qualities. For purposes of this program, socially rates for direct loans are set monthly according to thedisadvantaged groups are women, African Americans, government’s cost of borrowing. Interest rates for guar-American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Hispanics, Asians, anteed loans are established by the lender.Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Eligibility, Uses, and RestrictionsThe purposes of the program are to: Eligible applicants include individuals, partnerships,• Help remove barriers that prevent full participation joint operations, corporations, and cooperatives pri- of SDA farmers in FSA’s farm loan programs; and marily and directly engaged in farming and ranching on family-size operations. A family-size farm is con-• Provide information and assistance to SDA farmers sidered to be one that produces an agricultural product to help develop sound farm management practices, in a quantity sufficient to be recognized as a farm rather analyzing problems, and plan the best use of avail- than a rural residence. able resources essential for success in farming or ranching. In addition to being members of a socially disadvan- taged group, individual applicants under this programIn Fiscal Year 2008, the obligations incurred for So- must meet all requirements for FSA’s regular farm loancially Disadvantaged loans exceeded $88 million and program assistance. To be eligible, an applicant must,$78 million for direct and guaranteed operating loans among other requirements:(OL), respectively. Loan obligations exceeded $56 mil-lion and $156 million for direct and guaranteed farm • Have a satisfactory history of meeting credit obli-ownership (FO) loans, respectively. gationsApplication and Financial Information • Have sufficient education, training, or experience for at least 1 year’s full production cycle in manag-Direct loans are made to applicants by FSA and include ing or operating a farm or ranch. For a direct FOboth OL and FO loans. loan, applicants must have participated in the busi-Guaranteed loans also may be made for ownership or ness operations of a farm or ranch for at least 3 ofoperating purposes. They may be made by any lend- the past 10 yearsing institution subject to federal or state supervision • Be a citizen of the United States (or a legal residentBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page 59
    • alien), including Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Is- Website lands, Guam, American Samoa, and certain former http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?area=home&su Pacific Island Trust Territories bject=fmlp&topic=sfl• Be unable to obtain credit elsewhere with or with- Contact out an FSA guarantee at reasonable rates and terms to meet actual needs James F. Radintz, Director National Program Office• Possess the legal capacity to incur the obligations Farm Service Agency of the loan Phone: (202) 720-1632In the case of corporations, cooperatives, joint opera-tions, or partnerships, the stockholders, members, orpartners holding a majority interest must meet thesesame eligibility requirements. The borrowing entitymust be authorized to operate a farm or ranch in thestate where the actual operation is located.In addition, the entity must be owned by U.S. citizensor legal resident aliens, and the socially disadvantagedmembers must hold a majority interest in the entity.FO loan funds may be used to purchase or enlarge afarm or ranch, purchase easements or rights of wayneeded in the farm’s operation, erect or improve build-ings such as a dwelling or barn, promote soil and waterconservation and development, and pay closing costs.OL funds may be used to purchase livestock, poultry,farm equipment, fertilizer, and other materials neces-sary to operate a successful farm. OL funds can alsobe used for family living expenses, refinancing debtsunder certain conditions, paying salaries of hired farmlaborers, costs associated with land and water develop-ment, use or conservation, purchase of livestock andfarm equipment, annual operating expenses such asseed and fertilizer, costs associated with reorganizinga farm to improve profitability, and other farm needs.FSA is organized on a national, state and county basis.Applicants for direct loans apply directly through thecounty or USDA Service Center. Individuals can locatethe nearest FSA office by checking in the telephonewhite pages under U.S. Government, Department ofAgriculture, and Farm Service Agency.Guaranteed loan applications are made with the lender.In cases where a lender is not known to an applicant,personnel at the county office will help find one andwill help with an application, either for a direct loan ora guaranteed loan.Page 60 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Local Food Enterprise Loans Loaning funds to support farm and ranch incomes and renew local food system infrastructure and community developmentProgram Basics $10 million. Generally loans to a single borrower are capped at $10 million, though several exceptions apply.The 2008 Farm Bill created new loan and loan guar-antee authority for local and regional food enterprises Eligibility, Uses, and Restrictionsthrough the Business and Industry (B&I) Loan programadministered by the Rural Development branch of the Individuals, cooperatives, cooperative organizations,USDA. While the authority allows USDA to make or businesses, and other entities are eligible for these loanguarantee loans, the B&I program currently is entirely guarantees.federal guarantees of commercial loans. B&I loans are generally available only in rural areas,The purpose of the B&I program in general is to help im- which include all areas other than towns of more thanprove, develop, or finance businesses and employment 50,000 people and those contiguous or adjacent to ur-in rural areas by bolstering the existing private credit banized areas. Grants may be made to cooperativesmarket through federal guarantees. The purpose of the for value-added processing facilities in non-rural areas,local and regional food subprogram is to support farm provided they service agricultural producers within 80and ranch incomes as well as the renewal of local food miles of the facility and help improve producer income.system infrastructure and community development. WebsiteApplication and Financial Information www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/b&i_gar.htmLoans can be used to support and establish enterprises Rural Development State Offices: www.rurdev.usda.that process, distribute, aggregate, store, and market gov/recd_map.htmlfoods produced either in-state or transported less than400 miles from the origin of the product. Contact InformationLoans may be used for business conversion, enlarge-ment, modernization, purchase and development of Carolyn Parkerland, buildings, facilities, purchase of equipment, ma- Director, Business and Industry Divisionchinery, supplies, inventory, and similar purposes, and Phone: (202) 690-4103may also be used for business acquisitions when the carolyn.parker@wdc.usda.govloan will keep a business from closing or prevent theloss of employment or expand job opportunities.Priority will be given to projects that in some way ben-efit communities with limited access to affordable andhealthy foods and that have a high rate of hunger, foodinsecurity, or poverty.The recipient of the loan or loan guarantee is requiredto inform consumers in some way of the locally- or re-gionally-produced attribute of the food products.The maximum loan guarantee is 80 percent for loansof $5 million or less, 70 percent for loans between $5and $10 million, and 60 percent for loans exceedingBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page 61
    • Microloan Program Providing loans to buy inventory, equipment, machinery, and fixtures; provide working capital; or receive technical assistanceProgram Basics WebsiteThe Microloan Program of the Small Business Admin- SBA Home page: www.sba.govistration was developed to make very small loans avail-able to prospective small business borrowers. Under SBA Microloan Program: http://www.sba.gov/services/this program, the SBA makes funds available to non- financialassistance/sbaloantopics/microloans/index.profit intermediaries, who in turn make loans to eligible htmlborrowers. The intermediaries also provide technical Contact Introductionassistance to borrowers. Check the telephone directory under “U.S. Gov-Project Examples ernment” for the nearest SBA office or call theClient confidentiality does not permit the SBA or non- Small Business Answer Desk (800) U-ASKS-profit lenders to release information to the public on BA. For the hearing impaired, the TDD numberspecific projects. is (704) 344-6640.Application and Financial InformationLoans are made by selected nonprofit lenders inamounts up to a maximum of $35,000. The averageloan size is $12,300. Each nonprofit lending organiza-tion has its own loan requirements. Generally, lenderswill take collateral against a loan. In most cases, thepersonal guaranties of the business owners are alsorequired.Depending on the earnings of the business, the loan ma-turity may be as long as 6 years. Rates for microloansare determined by the intermediary’s cost of funds andthe size of the microloan.Eligibility, Uses, and RestrictionsVirtually all types of for-profit businesses that meetSBA basic requirements are eligible. Lending deci-sions under this program are made solely by the inter-mediary lender. They are based on credit experience,character, and/or relationships built during the pre-loantechnical assistance and training.Loans may be used for furniture, fixtures, supplies, in-ventory, machinery, equipment and working capital.Loans may not be used as a down payment or for thepurchase of real estate.Page 62 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • National Organic Program (NOP) Providing national organic certification standards, information, and accreditation for certifying agenciesProgram Basics • NOP regulations and policies: Includes NOP stan- dards, National List information, policy statements,The National Organic Program (NOP) was estab- and trade issues.lished under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990(OFPA) and developed national organic standards, • Producers, handlers, and processors: Includes Na-which were implemented in 2002. tional List information, labeling packaged prod- ucts, labeling alcoholic beverages, and questionsThe NOP develops, implements, and administers na- and answers.tional production, handling, and labeling standardsfor organic agricultural products. The NOP accredits • State programs: Includes approval procedures, ap-certifying agents (foreign and domestic) who inspect proved state programs, accredited state Depart-organic production and handling operations to ensure ments of Agriculture, state contacts, and the cost-that they meet USDA standards. There are currently 97 share program.certifying agents and 26,000 NOP-certified organic op-erations worldwide. The NOP also handles compliance Websiteand enforcement of the standards. The NOP recently www.ams.usda.gov/nop/signed its first organic equivalency agreement—withCanada. Contact InformationThe OFPA provided that an advisory board, the Nation- USDA-AMS-TMP-NOPal Organic Standards Board (NOSB), be given jurisdic- Room 40084-South Buildingtion over the National List of Allowed and Prohibited 1400 Independence Avenue, SWSubstances section of the NOP standards. No substance Washington, DC 20250-020068can be added from this list without the recommendation Phone: (202) 720-3252of the NOSB. The NOP also consults with the NOSB Fax: (202) 205-7808when developing new or amending current standards.The board is composed of 15 members, each represent-ing different segments of the organic industry.Information AvailableInterested parties can obtain a wealth of informationabout U.S. organic regulations and practices from theNational Organic Program. This includes informationabout:• Certifying agents: Includes accredited certifying agents, accreditation status table, application for accreditation, appeals process, compliance and en- forcement, and cost share.• Consumer issues: Includes background information about NOP, the USDA organic seal, organic label- ing photo, and fact sheets such as Organic Stan- dards, Labeling and Certification.Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 63
    • Organic Certification Cost Share (NOCCSP) Funding states to reimburse producers for the cost of organic certificationProgram Basics organic certification program. A complete list of state contacts is available from the National Association ofThe National Organic Certification Cost Share Program State Organic Programs at www.nasda.org/nasop/.(NOCCSP) makes financial assistance available to helpdefray the costs of organic certification for producers There is also an association of private accredited or-and handlers of organic products. Producers and han- ganic certifiers who may be helpful with cost share pro-dlers can receive up to 75 percent of their annual cer- gram issues:tification costs up to a maximum payment of $750 peryear. http://www.accreditedcertifiers.org/index.htmHandlers in all states, and producers in every stateexcept the 12 Northeast states plus HI, NV, UT, andWY, are eligible to receive cost share assistance underthis program. A separate but nearly identical programcalled the Agricultural Management Assistance Pro-gram provides cost share assistance to producers in the12 Northeast states plus HI, NV, UT, and WY.In either case, the assistance is made generally availableto producers and handlers through state departments ofagriculture, particularly if that state has an accreditedorganic certifying program. Recipients must be certi-fied by a USDA accredited certifying agent under theNational Organic Program.The Agricultural Marketing Service of the USDAmanages the National Organic Certification Cost ShareProgram.Websitehttp://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/ams.fetchTemplateData.o?template=TemplateA&navID=Home&topNav=Home&page=Home&acct=AMSPWFrom this link you can access both the National Organ-ic Program website with an additional link to the cost-share program and the special Agricultural Manage-ment Assistance Program version of the same programContact InformationProducers and handlers should contact their certifi-ers for additional information, or contact their StateDepartment of Agriculture if they have an accreditedPage 64 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Organic Conversion Assistance Supporting organic production and transition to organic productionProgram Basics WebsiteAgricultural producers can receive conservation fi- The NRCS website for EQIP is: www.nrcs.usda.gov/nancial and technical assistance for organic systems PROGRAMS/EQIP/through the USDA’s Environmental Quality IncentivesProgram (EQIP). Prior to the 2008 Farm Bill, a few Contact Information:pioneering states had been using their EQIP programs From the national NRCS website you can access yourto provide special assistance to organic producers for state’s NRCS office and from there the location of youryears. nearest NRCS field office. Most states also have a spe-The 2008 Farm Bill now authorizes nationwide use of cific person who is in charge of EQIP in that state, andEQIP funding for organic production and transition to their contact information can usually be found on theorganic production. Farmers who are embracing or- state website.ganic production for the first time, as well as farmerswho are expanding their organic crop production or in-creasing the size of organically-managed livestock orpoultry operations, are eligible for the EQIP assistance.Application and Financial InformationIn Fiscal Year 2009 (FY09), USDA’s Natural ResourcesConservation Service (NRCS) made $50 million avail-able for this initiative. Despite a short application time-frame, 3,700 organic or transitioning farmers appliedby the initial deadline. As of this writing, it is unknownwhat amount of funding will be available in FY10.Funding under the organic conversion section of the2008 Farm Bill is capped at not more than $20,000 perfarm per year, and not more than $80,000 per farm inany 6-year period. Organic farmers may opt to competein this special pool, with the tighter payment caps, ormay opt instead to compete in the regular EQIP poolfor which the 6-year cap is $300,000.During the first, 2009, application period, EQIP offeredsix core conservation practices (conservation crop ro-tation, cover cropping, integrated pest management,nutrient management, rotational grazing, and forageharvest management) for which financial and techni-cal assistance could be funded by this program to tran-sitioning organic farmers on a nationwide basis. Eachstate could then also add a variety of “facilitating” con-servation practices specific to the type of agriculture intheir region. Check with NRCS to see the practices forwhich transitioning farmers can receive assistance infuture years.Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 65
    • Organic Research & Extension Initiative (OREI) Integrating research and extension activities to solve critical organic agriculture issues, priorities and problemsProgram Basics competitiveness of fresh market organic farms by de- veloping integrated, systems-based solutions to theirThe Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Ini- most significant soil and weed problems.tiative (OREI) funds research, education, and extensionprojects that enhance the ability of producers and pro- In 2007, the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Edu-cessors to grow and market high quality organic agri- cation Service was awarded $50,000 to make organiccultural products. research accessible to farmers through a Midwest Or- ganic Research SymposiumSeveral legislatively defined purposes have guidedgrant-making under the program since it was first es- Application and Financial Informationtablished in 2002. In 2009, these purposes are: The program is administered by USDA’s National In-1. Facilitating the development of organic agriculture stitute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). production, breeding, and processing methods; Fieldwork of proposed projects must be done on cer-2. Evaluating the potential economic benefits to pro- tified organic land or on land in transition to organic ducers and processors who use organic methods; certification, as appropriate to project goals and objec- tives. OREI is funded by the 2008 Farm Bill at $203. Exploring international trade opportunities for or- million annually. ganically grown and processed agricultural com- modities; Eligibility, Uses and Restrictions4. Determining desirable traits for organic commodi- State agricultural experiment stations, all colleges and ties; universities, other research institutions and organiza- tions, Federal agencies, national laboratories, private5. Identifying marketing and policy constraints on the organizations, corporations, and individuals are eligi- expansion of organic agriculture; ble to apply to receive these grants.6. Conducting advanced on-farm research and de- Website velopment that emphasizes observation of, experi- mentation with, and innovation for working organic http://www.nifa.usda.gov/fo/organicagriculturere- farms, including research relating to production and searchandextensioninitiative.cfm marketing and to socioeconomic conditions; Contact Information7. Examining optimal conservation and environmen- tal outcomes relating to organically produced agri- Tom Bewick, NIFA National Program Leader – cultural products, and Horticulture Phone: (202) 401-33568. Developing new and improved seed varieties that E-mail: tbewick@nifa.usda.gov are particularly suited for organic agriculture.Project ExamplesIn 2008, Washington State University was awarded$644,232 to improve the agronomic and economicPage 66 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (OASDFR) Providing grants to educational institutions and nonprofit organizations that offer outreach, training and technical assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchersProgram Basics and marketing education, and leadership develop- ment, which benefit a diverse group of farmers andThe Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvan- ranchers.taged Farmers and Ranchers program, also known asthe “Section 2501” program after its Farm Bill section Federation of Southern Cooperatives -number, provides grants to eligible entities that workwith minority farmers and assist them in owning and In 2007, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives re-operating farms and participating in agricultural and ceived $299,723 to strengthen the farm managementUSDA-specific programs. and marketing skills of minority farmers in the south- ern region of the United States. The funding helpedThe purpose of the OASDFR program is to assure that FSC to operate programs such as the Small Farm andsocially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers have op- Sustainable Agriculture Program, which helps farm-portunities to successfully acquire, own, operate, and ers develop successful family farm businesses withretain farms and ranches and equitably participate in all technical assistance in farm management, setting farmUSDA programs. goals, and financial analysis.The OASDFR program supports a range of outreach Eligibility Uses and Restrictionsand assistance activities, including: Eligible recipients of OASDFR funding include Land• Farm management Grant Institutions (1862, 1890, or 1994), Native Amer- ican Tribal Governments and organizations, Latino-• Financial management Serving Institutions, State Controlled Institutions of• Marketing Higher Education, and community-based and non-prof- it organizations.• Application and bidding procedures Application and Financial InformationApplicants are also encouraged to coordinate with ex-isting regional projects to complement pertinent and The 2008 Farm Bill directed that OASDFR should re-relevant cross-regional activities. ceive $20 million annually. Matching funds from ap- plicants are not required.Project Examples WebsiteThe Agriculture and Land-Based Training Associa-tion (ALBA) in Salinas, CA received $253,217 in 2005 http://www.nifa.usda.gov/funding/rfas/outreach.htmlto enhance business management skills of socially dis-advantaged farmers and ranchers. ALBA has been Contact Informationsuccessful in helping former migrant workers, some Dr. Dionne Toombsof whom have never farmed before, become prosper- National Program Leaderous farm owners. With the help of this grant and oth- Phone: 202-401-2138er funding, ALBA has created several influential and dtoombs@csrees.usda.govthriving programs in agricultural training, businessBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page 67
    • Partners for Fish and Wildlife Providing technical and/or financial assistance for wildlife habitat restorationProgram Basics The vast majority of existing and potential fish and wildlife habitat is on private, Tribal and other non-fed-The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program is a proac- eral lands. The Fish and Wildlife Service recognizes thetive, voluntary program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife potential value of enlisting the active support of privateService that provides technical and financial assistance landowners in restoring and maintaining wildlife habi-to private (nonfederal) landowners to restore fish and tat for future conservation efforts in the United States.wildlife habitats on their land. The Fish and Wildlife Service provides financial andThe program emphasizes the reestablishment of native technical assistance to private landowners through vol-vegetation and ecological communities for the benefit untary cooperative agreements. Under cooperativeof fish and wildlife in concert with the needs and de- agreements, landowners agree to maintain restorationsires of private landowners. projects as specified in the agreement, but they retainThe Fish and Wildlife Service also enlists the help of full control of the land. Landowners and national, state,a wide variety of other partners to help restore wildlife and local organizations can serve as partners with thehabitat on private lands. These partners include other Service in carrying out restoration work on privatefederal agencies, tribes, state and local governments, lands.conservation organizations, academic institutions, Project Examplesbusinesses and industries, school groups, and privateindividuals. Thousands of restoration projects have been supported by the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program sinceProjects consist primarily of habitat restoration and en- 1987, including:hancement. Activities include, but are not limited to: The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in New• Restoring wetland hydrology by plugging drainage York restored a 100 acre wetland in St. Lawrence ditches, breaking tile drainage systems, installing County. The project involved construction of a low water control structures, dike construction, and re- berm that plugged an agricultural ditch, restoring establishing old connections with waterways a 100 acre field to emergent marsh habitat. This• Planting native trees and shrubs in formerly forest- high priority wetland restoration project is located in ed wetlands and other habitats the North American Waterfowl Management Plan’s St. Lawrence Valley Focus Area. This project is one of a• Planting native grasslands and other vegetation number of wetland restoration projects in close proxim- ity, forming a large complex of restored wetland acres.• Installing fencing and off-stream livestock water- Multiple partners contributed to the project, including ing facilities to allow for restoration of stream and Ducks Unlimited and the National Fish and Wildlife riparian areas Foundation. The project provides waterfowl and other• Removing exotic plants and animals that compete migratory birds with migration staging, resting, nest- with native fish and wildlife and alter their natural ing, foraging, and brood habitat, and it also provides habitats habitat for reptiles, amphibians, and other wildlife.• Using prescribed burning as a method of removing The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program worked exotic species and restoring natural disturbance re- with the Fish and Wildlife’s Coastal Program to as- gimes necessary for some species survival sist J. F. Welder Heirs Cattle Company reclaim and conserve a total of 3,000 acres of native coastal prai-• Reconstructing in-stream aquatic habitat through rie in Texas. This coastal prairie provides habitat for bioengineering techniques migratory grassland birds and potential habitat forPage 68 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • the critically endangered Attwater’s prairie chicken Greg Brown, Coordinator(Tympanuchus cupido attwateri). The 24,000 acres of cattle Region 3 (IL, IN, IO, MI, MN, MO, OH, WI)ranch properties include some of the largest and best Phone: (612) 713-5475examples of native coastal prairie left on earth. Theproject includes reducing brush canopy coverage to 5 Ronnie Haynes, Coordinatorpercent and improving brush distribution to provide Region 4 (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC,optimum habitat for bobwhite populations and poten- TN, and the Caribbean – PR, VI)tial habitat for prairie chickens. The Fish and Wildlife Phone: (404) 679-7138Service is working with the cattle company to develop Steve Hill, Coordinatora grazing management system that will provide nesting Region 5 (CT, DE, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA,and brood-rearing habitat for grassland birds, maintain RI, VA, VT, WV)the dominance of desirable native grasses and forms, Phone: (413) 253-8614and contribute to the long-term viability of the ranchingoperation. Heather Johnson, Coordinator Region 6 (CO, KS, MT, NE, ND, SD, UT, WY)Application and Financial Information Phone: (303) 236-4316Contact the appropriate regional office (see list in this John DeLapp, Coordinatorentry). Your regional contact should be able to give you Region 7 (AK)an idea of the appropriateness of your proposed project Phone: (907) 786-3925;and probability of its support by Partners for Fish andWildlife. The program aims for a 50 percent nonfederal Deb Schlafmann, Coordinatormatch for each project. Landowners and partner orga- Region 8 (CA, NV)nizations provide this matching support. Phone: (916) 414-6464Eligibility, Uses, and Restrictions Tamara McCandless, Chief, Branch of Habitat Any private landowner with acreage that has the poten- Restorationtial for restoration to its original habitat can apply for National Program Officeconsideration in this program. Phone: (703) 358-2201Landowners voluntarily offer the land base for restora-tion for a fixed term (at least 10 years, although manyextend the term). The program emphasizes the restora-tion of formerly degraded wetlands, native grasslands,riparian areas, and other habitats to conditions as closeto natural as feasible.Websitehttp://www.fws.gov/ partners/ContactKathy Hollar, CoordinatorRegion 1 (HI, ID, OR, WA)Phone: (503) 231-6156Mike McCollum, CoordinatorRegion 2 (AZ, NM, OK, TX)Phone: (817) 277-1100Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 69
    • Regional Integrated Pest Management Program Providing competitive grants for research and extension activities related to integrated pest management (IPM) administered through regional networksProgram Basics soil seed-bank which put additional weed pressure on the following vegetable crop. Adopting managementThis competitive grants program for research and ex- strategies that close this gap and reduce weed soil seed-tension activities related to integrated pest management banks has the potential to reduce the need for intensive(IPM) is administered through the National Institute of weed management in some vegetable crops and to con-Food and Agriculture (NIFA), through the four Region- tribute to the sustainability of vegetable crop produc-al IPM Centers, located at land grant universities. This tion in the North Central region.program funds projects amounting to about $2.8 mil-lion annually. A project to study using double crops of winter grain and short-season corn forages as an integrated weedProjects may span the spectrum from development of management strategy for organic dairies was fundednew IPM tactics to combined research-extension imple- for $53,459 at the University of Maine. Since sustain-mentation projects to extension education and training. able organic dairy production is largely dependent onBecause production systems and specific pest manage- production of high quality feed while minimizing weedment problems vary significantly across the country, pressure and with high feed costs, producers must max-each of the four regions is given maximum flexibility imize on-farm forage and grain production. The studyin setting research and education priorities. Each region aims to show organic dairy farmers who grow cornruns its own competition, establishing regional priori- that adopting such a feed production system can im-ties for funding of projects. prove weed management and production of high qual-Some priorities are crop-specific; others are based on ity forages, leading to increased milk production andvarious approaches to problem solving through IPM. improved economic and environmental sustainability.Collaborators are encouraged in both programs. A project to improve adoption of IPM principles inProject Examples schools was awarded to the University of Florida, with collaborators from regional land grant universi-$64,062 was awarded to Clemson University to im- ties. This grant for about $150,000 over two yearsplement a regional fungicide resistance monitoring and addresses adoption of integrated pest management inbrown rot disease management program for sustain- public schools, capitalizing on the current interest inable peach production in southern states. This joint building green schools to increase awareness of IPMresearch-extension project addresses emerging fun- as a green technology.gicide resistant strains of Monilinia fructicola, whichthreaten southern peach production as addressed in the Eligibility, Uses, and Restrictionsrecently updated Pest Management Strategic Plan for Only staff of land grant universities in the U.S. may ap-Eastern Peaches. Resistance to benzimidazole and de- ply for this competition. Other organizations and indi-methylation inhibitor fungicides have already caused viduals may work as collaborators or as subcontractors.disease control failures in commercial orchards. This is highly encouraged by NIFA.Purdue University was awarded $93,990 to address in- Application and Financial Informationtegrating late-season weed control into Midwest veg-etable production. Since most Midwestern row crop Requests for proposals are available at: http://www.producers do not manage weeds late into the season, a nifa.usda.gov/fo/integratedpestmanagementcenters.gap in weed management results as fields are rotated to cfmvegetable crops. Late season weeds increase the weedPage 70 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Your regional contact person can suggest the bestmeans to obtain information on funding opportunities,priorities for research and extension projects, and ap-plication deadlines.Proposals are evaluated through a peer review processand ranked according to the goals and objectives of theprogram, scientific merit and appropriateness of budget.Websitehttp://www.nifa.usda.gov/fo/integratedpestmanage-mentcenters.cfmContactCarrie Koplinka-Loehr, Co-DirectorNortheast Region IPM CenterPhone: (607) 255-8879ckk3@cornell.eduJohn Ayres, Co-DirectorNortheast Region IPM CenterPhone: (814) 865-7776jea@psu.eduSusan Ratcliffe, DirectorNorth Central Region IPM CenterPhone: 217-333-9656sratclif@uiuc.eduJim VanKirk, DirectorSouthern Region IPM CenterPhone: (919) 513-8179jim@sripmc.orgRick Melnicoe, DirectorWestern Region IPM CenterPhone: (530) 754-8378rsmelnicoe@ucdavis.eduNational Program OfficeNational Institute of Food and AgricultureU.S. Department of Agriculture, Mail Stop 22201400 Independence Avenue, S.W.Washington, DC 20250-2220Phone: (202) 401-4939; Fax: (202) 401-4888Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 71
    • Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDC) Strengthening the capacity of local citizens to guide the future of their rural communitiesProgram Basics Foundations of Community Development Practice is a three part training that addresses the basic knowledgeThe USDA’s four Regional Rural Development Cen- and skills in the processes, tools and techniques ofters (RRDCs) play a unique role in the USDA’s service community development work.to rural America. Each center links the research andoutreach capacity of land-grant universities with local The National E-Commerce Extension Initiative pro-decision-makers to address cutting-edge rural and com- vides online training, an online learning center, as wellmunity development issues. They build partnerships as mini-grants for e-commerce curricula. The goal ofwith community organizations, politicians, local and this program is to help rural businesses use e-commercestate government officials, and private entrepreneurs strategies to strengthen their economic health and sta-to encourage locally led and sustainable development. bility, improve their market share and catapult the effi-They serve as leaders and primary facilitators of rural ciency of their products and services. The RRDCs alsodevelopment research, education, and policy dialogues play an important role in Extension’s online effort toto help families, communities, farms and ranches, and support entrepreneurs and their communities.businesses attain prosperity and security. Through the website http://www.extension.org/entre-The centers were established by the Rural Development preneurship people can access research based materialsAct of 1972. The centers are located at Michigan State and online training that support entrepreneurs and theirUniversity, Utah State University, Mississippi State communities so they can be successful. The RRDCsUniversity and Pennsylvania State University. Each websites contain a wealth of information. Visit thecenter is administered by a joint agreement between website for the center in your region for more informa-USDA and a host institution operating for the exten- tion about their programs and publications, as well assion services and the experiment stations in the region. reports on training opportunities offered by the federal government and nonprofit organizations, calendars list-Core funding comes from the Cooperative State Re- ing rural development conferences and other events,search, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) news about funding opportunities, and regional andand the regions’ land-grant universities. Increasingly, national links to other resources for rural communityother federal and state agencies, private foundations, development.and public interests contribute funding. ContactInformation Available Southern Rural Development CenterEach of the rural development centers offers a variety Lionel J. (Bo) Beaulieu, Directorof information resources and programs that address Box 9656critical national and regional rural development issues. 410 Bost Extension Bldg.For example, the centers offer research-based publica- Mississippi State, MS 39762tions on local economic development, persistent pov- Phone: (662) 325-3207erty, land use, and sustainable agriculture. The centers Fax: (662) 325-8915also work together to offer national training programs Website: http://srdc.msstate.edu/for people working on community development. E-mail: ljb@srdc.msstate.eduPage 72 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • North Central Regional Center for RuralDevelopmentScott Loveridge, Transition DirectorMichigan State University11F Agriculture HallEast Lansing, MI 48823Phone: (517) 355-4631E-mail: loverid2@msu.eduWebsite: http://www.ncrdc.orgNortheast Regional Center for Rural DevelopmentStephen J. Goetz, DirectorThe Pennsylvania State University7 Armsby BuildingUniversity Park, PA 16802-5602Phone: (814) 863-4656Fax: (814) 863-0586Website: http://www.nercrd.psu.eduE-mail: sgoetz@psu.eduWestern Rural Development CenterDon E. Albrecht, DirectorUtah State University8335 Old Main HillLogan, UT 84322-8335Phone: (435) 797-9732Fax: (435) 797-9733Website: http://wrdc.usu.edu/E-mail: wrdc@ext.usu.eduFor additional information:Sally MaggardNational Program LeaderEconomic and Community SystemsCSREES-USDA1400 Independence Ave., NW, Stop 2215Washington , DC 20250-2215Phone: (202) 720-0741E-mail: smaggard@csrees.usda.govInternetWebsite addresses for each rural development centerare listed in the contact information section.Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 73
    • Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Providing technical assistance to local communities to stimulate economies and protect natural resourcesProgram Basics RC&D activities as outlined in the council’s 5-year strategic “area plan” address land conservation, waterThe Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) management, community development, and land man-program provides technical assistance to local commu- agement issues. These activities are translated intonities through designated USDA areas led by RC&D projects that include:Councils. The purpose of the program is to acceleratethe conservation, development and use of natural re- Resource base protection projects for soil erosion con-sources while improving the general level of economic trol, noxious plant and pest control, streambank im-activity and standard of living in communities across provement, preservation of prime land, and mined landthe nation. RC&D Councils coordinate conserva- reclamation; and natural resource studies.tion and rural development assistance available fromUSDA, other federal, state, and local government and Energy projects for energy conservation and alterna-nongovernmental sources. tive energy sources such as methane capture, municipal waste, biomass or wind power.Central to RC&D is the idea that local people knowwhat is best for their communities. The RC&D Coun- Fish and wildlife projects for the protection, improve-cils (volunteers representing Tribes, public and private ment, or development of habitat.sector sponsors, and other local groups) undertake com- Waste management and utilization projects for the ef-munity driven actions that are strategically focused on ficient and environmentally sound disposal of animalregional resource conservation and economic viability. waste; development or improvement of a landfill; wasteTo date, 375 areas across the United States, Guam, collection; solid waste disposal; composting and recy-American Samoa, Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and cling of glass, metals, paper, wood, and furniture.Virgin Islands have been designated by the Secretary of Community improvement projects that improve com-Agriculture as RC&D areas. RC&D Councils, as non- munity infrastructure including studies on zoning, fa-profit organizations, serve more than 85 percent of U.S. cilities or services needed, and project implementation.counties and more than 77 percent of the United States. Projects include constructing and improving publicThe USDA, through the Natural Resources Conser- trails; community centers and other old communityvation Service (NRCS), provides technical assistance buildings; constructing, improving or repairing subsi-in the form of a local staff person (an “RC&D coor- dized housing; improving roads and parks; and, install-dinator”) to support each multi-county RC&D area. ing dry fire hydrants.The RC&D Council identifies the environmental, eco- Forestry projects improve forested areas through edu-nomic, and social needs of that area. Goals, objectives, cation on safety or harvesting techniques; developingstrategies and the resources needed are documented in or expanding forest related industries; fire protection;a five-year area plan. The RC&D coordinator serves developing wood waste energy sources; developing orthe council by helping with project design and getting improving value added forestry related products; stud-projects underway by assisting the council to locate the ies such as forest inventories, species, or forest prod-necessary resources. Resources may include techni- ucts; and, improving rural road infrastructure with tim-cal or financial assistance from other USDA agencies, ber bridges.state or local governments, local conservation districts,foundations, or private industry. Economic development projects include marketing and producer surveys or feasibility studies; assisting withPage 74 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • grants, loans, or other financing; assisting in the for- Contactmation or expansion of agriculture or natural resourcerelated businesses, or other businesses involved with To find out about RC&D activities in your area, contactvalue-added products. Projects can include improve- your local NRCS office. Check your telephone directo-ment of agricultural production. Marketing and mer- ry under U.S. Government, Department of Agriculture.chandising projects result in cooperatives or associa- Terry D’Addiotions; business or marketing plans; and advertising and Team Leader & National RC&D Program Managerpromotional materials. Phone: 202/720-0557Water projects improve surface and groundwater qual- terry.d’addio@wdc.usda.govity and quantity. Many projects deal with pollutioncontrol and dispersing water. Projects include water-shed management; construction or rehabilitation of ir-rigation, flood control systems; wastewater treatment;and, efficient use of aquifers.Recreation and tourism projects include feasibilitystudies and the creation or improvement of water-basedrecreational areas for swimming, boating, and canoe-ing, and boat launch sites; establishment or improve-ment of non water-based recreational areas such golfcourses, rodeo arenas, trails, or ball parks; historic sitepreservation;Application and Financial InformationWritten applications must be in the form outlined inthe NRCS Conservation Programs Manual (CPM-440,Part 513 - National Resource Conservation and Devel-opment). This can be found at http://directives.sc.egov.usda.gov/. Details of the procedure are also availablefrom state and field offices of NRCS. Designation of anew RC&D area depends on the level of appropriationsfor the program.Eligibility, Uses, and RestrictionsEligible applicants are Councils with representationfrom state and local governments, Tribes, and nonprofitorganizations with authority to plan or carry out activi-ties relating to resource use and development in multi-jurisdictional areas working through designated RC&DCouncils.Websitehttp://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/rcd/Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 75
    • Risk Management Education Program (RME) Providing grants for training and outreach about agricultural risk management strategiesProgram Basics • Legal immigrant farmers or ranchers that are at- tempting to become established producers in theSince it was authorized by Congress in 2001, USDA’s U.S.;National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) hasmanaged the Risk Management Education (RME) Pro- • Socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers;gram to provide farmers with the knowledge, skills andtools needed to make informed risk management deci- • Farmers or ranchers who are preparing to retire andsions for their operations, with the goal of enhancing are pursuing transition strategies to help new farm-farm profitability. ers or ranchers get started; andSuch risk management strategies can range from futures, • New or established farmers or ranchers who areoptions, forward contracts to broader risk management converting production and marketing systems tostrategies. These include crops and enterprise diversi- pursue new markets.fication, conservation planning, new and value-added Project Examplesmarkets, debt reduction, and asset building strategies. • $4,900 was granted to Colorado State UniversityThe program currently has five priority topics for Cooperative Extension to develop and train farm-grants: production risk, price or marketing risk, human ers in using a computer-based decision-making toolresources risk; legal risk (e.g., liability and environ- to help farmers make informed choices aroundmental risk); and financial risk. purchases of breeding females.The program operates through four regional risk man- • $44,572 was granted to Wisconsin’s Departmentagement education centers and a fifth digital center. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer ProtectionIn 2009, NIFA solicited proposals from institutions in to help farmers develop the skills and connectionseach of the four national regions to manage these cen- to successfully market products to local food buy-ters. Thus, the location for some of the regional center ers. This project helped link 100 farmers with localwill change; new centers had not been chosen as of this food buyers, creating new market opportunities.writing. Updated information about these centers canbe found at • The University of Vermont’s Center for Sus- tainable Agriculture received funding for a seriesThe RME provides accessibility to a wide range of in- of 6 workshops on different risk managementformation about RME-funded projects and risk man- strategies for pasture-raised livestock. Topicsagement strategies at its fifth, non-regional, center - the ranged from parasite and pest problems to nutritionDigital Center for Risk Management Education. As of and,diseases, with discussion of methods that meetthis writing, this part of RME is housed at the Univer- organic certification requirementssity of Minnesota http://www.agrisk.umn.edu/. How-ever, continued responsibility for this function may Application and Financial Informationchange; the following link can direct you to the correct The RME is funded at $5 million annually. Grant awardswebsite. http://www.nifa.usda.gov/nea/economics/in_ will normally not exceed $50,000 for single region proj-focus/farm_if_risk.html#risk ects. Generally, the range of awards, for single regionThe 2008 Farm Bill directed NIFA to emphasize grants projects is from $5,000 to $50,000; however there is noto risk management education projects that assist: absolute upper or lower limit on the funds provided to a project. The awards will reflect a mix of project sizes to• Beginning farmers or ranchers; meet our investment goal of a balanced portfolio.Page 76 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Eligibility, Uses and RestrictionsOrganizations eligible for grants are private and pub-lic groups, organizations and institutions including landgrant colleges and universities, Cooperative Extension,other colleges and universities, and other qualified pub-lic and private entities in the region with a demonstratedcapacity to develop and deliver educational programs foragricultural producers and their families. These entitiesinclude farm organizations, commodity groups, lenders,consultants, marketers, risk management service provid-ers such as crop insurance agents, and other non-govern-mental and community-based organizations. Collabora-tion between the public and private sectors is stronglyencouraged.Websitehttp://www.nifa.usda.gov/nea/economics/in_focus/farm_if_risk.html#riskContact InformationAntonio McLaren, NIFARME National Program Leaderamclaren@nifa.usda.gov(202) 720-5997Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 77
    • Risk Management Partnership Agreements (RMA) Advancing research and development, education, and community outreach on agricultural risk management strategiesProgram Basics risks inherent in agricultural production. They may in- clude financial management tools to mitigate price andThe USDA’s Risk Management Agency offers Partner- production risks; tools to enhance measurement andship Agreements (RMA) to advance its work in three prediction of risks in order to facilitate risk diversifi-program areas: Product Management, Education, and cation; and tools to improve production management,Community Outreach. harvesting, record keeping, and marketing.Product Management: The Product Management Re- Project Examplessearch Partnerships fund qualified public and privateorganizations to research and develop non-insurance Product Management Agreementsrisk management tools. For example, these tools mayinclude decision support tools to assist producers in • The Rodale Institute received grants to expand themitigating a range of risks including climate, pests, geographic scope of the Organic Price Index and toand disease for crops and livestock. Currently, no new develop an Organic Transition Simulation Model.projects or funding opportunities are expected to be an- The model helps farmers analyze a wide variety ofnounced. Projects funded in previous years are still un- risk factors and costs when considering a transitionder development. to organic. The free 15-hour course is available at: http://www.tritrainingcenter.org/course/Education: The Commodity Small Session Partner-ships for Risk Management Education and the Crop • Agrilogic, Inc. was funded to develop a web-basedInsurance Education in Targeted States are aimed at ed- forage risk assessment tool for ranchers. Ranch-ucating producers about how to use financial manage- ers can monitor and assess the performance of free-ment, crop insurance, marketing contracts, and other grazing animals, forage conditions in response toexisting and emerging risk management tools. The Tar- site-specific weather and potential least-cost feed-geted States program delivers crop insurance education ing or destocking decisions relative to market andand information through cooperative agreements to weather risk.producers in sixteen states that have been specifically • The Southeast Climate Consortium through thedesignated as historically underserved with respect to University of Florida have developed AgroCli-crop insurance. mate. AgroClimate is an interactive website withOutreach: The Community Outreach and Assistance climate, agriculture, and forestry information. ItPartnership Program aims to ensure that information uses crop simulation models along with historicand training on how to use risk management tools and and forecast climate data to allow decision makersstrategies are effectively targeted to women, limited-re- to compare changes in probable outcomes undersource, socially disadvantaged, and other traditionally different climate conditions.underserved producers, ranchers and beginning farm- Commodity Partnerships for Risk Managementers. The RMA maintains an active presence in collabo- Educationrating with the partners it funds to implement the workdesignated by its agreements. • Maryland Nursery and Landscape Association is training over 500 horticulture specialty cropRisk management tools aren’t limited to insurance growers on effective production and marketingproducts, but include a variety of risk management op- strategies. These range from integrated pest man-tions and strategies to assist producers in mitigating agement and weed control solutions to financialPage 78 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • management and crop insurance. The grant award- Partnership Agreements, including $4.5 million for the ed this group was $10,000. Targeted States Program for crop insurance education in 16 historically underserved states.Crop Insurance Education and Information Pro-grams in Targeted States Eligibility, Uses, and Restrictions• University of Nevada-Reno received $207,556 to For all three programs, individuals are ineligible to ap- deliver crop and livestock insurance educational ply. Eligible applicants for the Research Partnerships programming. are all colleges and universities; federal, state and local agencies; nonprofit and for-profit private organizations;Community Outreach and Assistance Partnership or corporations and other entities.Agreements For both kinds of Education Partnerships, eligible ap-• In Minnesota, a project targeted to Hmong, Latino, plicants include state departments of agriculture, uni- Native, and African American farmers will provide versities, nonprofit agricultural organizations, and oth- legal education and training. er public or private organizations able to lead a local• A project in Appalachia will support limited re- program of risk management or crop insurance educa- source farmers in the region in accessing and op- tion. For the Outreach Partnerships, eligible applicants erating in growing markets for locally grown food. include educational institutions; community-based or- ganizations; and associations of farmers, ranchers and• A California project targeting limited resource other nonprofit organizations with demonstrated abili- farmers, as well as food service personnel and stu- ties to develop and implement risk management and dents, will fund a two-day national conference on other marketing options for priority commodities. building new markets. Partnership agreement funds may not be used for build-A complete listing of 2008 agreements can be found at ing or equipment purchases, rental or repair, to repairthe following websites: or maintain privately owned vehicles, or to prepare a partnership agreement application.• Education: www.rma.usda.gov/ news/2008/10/2008targetedstates.pdf Website• Outreach: www.rma.usda.gov/ www.rma.usda.gov/aboutrma/agreements news/2008/10/2008outreach.pdf ContactApplication and Financial Information Kristin ChowApplication information is available at the RMA web- Product Management Research Partnershipssite at www.rma.usda.gov. Applicants may also request Phone (816) 926-6399; Fax (816) 926-7343application materials from the contacts listed below. E-mail: kristin.chow@rma.usda.govEducation and Outreach Agreements are for up to 1 Lydia Astorgayear. Product Management Partnership Agreements Commodity Small Sessions Partnerships for Riskmay last up to 3 years. Except for Education Agree- Management Education and the Crop Insurance Edu-ments, wherein levels are partially determined by for- cation in Targeted Statesmulas explained in the application materials, these Phone (202) 260-4728; Fax (202) 690-3605agreements have no maximum or minimum funding E-mail: Lydia.Astorga@rma.usda.govlevels. In 2007 and 2008, there was no new fundingfor Product Management Research Partnerships. In David Wiggins2008, Outreach awarded fifty partnership agreements Community Outreach and Assistance Partnershipsfor $4,087,497 to educate women, limited-resource, Phone (202) 690-2686and other traditionally under-served farmers and E-mail: david.wiggins@rma.usda.govranchers. Education awarded $5,000,000 in EducationBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page 79
    • Rural Business Enterprise Grants (RBEG) Providing grants to assist small and emerging rural businessesProgram Basics Public bodies include incorporated towns and villages, boroughs, townships, counties, states, authorities, dis-The purpose of the Rural Business Enterprise Grants tricts, and Native American Tribes on federal and state(RBEG) program is to finance and facilitate the de- reservations, and other federally recognized Indianvelopment of small and emerging private business en- Tribal groups in rural areas.terprises in rural areas through grants to public bod-ies, nonprofits, and federally recognized Indian Tribal RBEG funds cannot be used for agricultural productiongroups. This includes starting and operating revolving (through growing, cultivation, and harvesting direct-loan funds, business incubators, and industrial parks. ly or through horizontally integrated operation), area wide planning; loans by grantees with unreasonableGrant funds may also be used to acquire and develop terms, rates, and charges; development of a proposalland and construct buildings, plants, equipment, access that could pull business activity or jobs away from onestreets and roads, parking areas, and utility and service area to another; development of a proposal that couldextensions; refinance; fees for professional services; result in an area with too many goods or materials andtechnical assistance and training; startup operating not enough demand. All funded projects are subject tocosts and working capital through a loan from a revolv- an environmental assessment in accordance with theing loan fund, provide financial assistance to a third National Environmental Policy Act.party; produce television programs to provide informa-tion to rural residents; and create, expand, and operate Applicants for grants to establish a revolving loan fundrural distance learning networks. must include details on their experience operating a re- volving loan program, proposed projects, and financialApplication and Financial Information ability to operate a revolving fund and plans for lever-Applicants must submit supporting data before mak- aging.ing a formal application. After determining the order Websiteof funding priorities, the Rural Business – CooperativeServices office will tentatively determine eligibility http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/rbeg.htmand request applicants to submit formal applications. ContactApplication forms are available from and may be filedin any state USDA Rural Development office, but ap- To receive an application, contact one of the 47 USDAplications are usually processed in a district or area of- Rural Development State Offices where the project isfice. Grant amounts are based on need and the avail- administered.ability of funds. The funding level in both Fiscal Year2009 (FY09) and FY10 was $38.7 million. Cindy Mason National Program OfficeEligibility, Uses, and Restrictions USDA, Rural Business-Cooperative Service Room 6866 South Building, Stop 3225The RBEG program is for nonprofits and public bodies Washington, DC 20250to assist small and emerging businesses in rural areas. Phone: (202) 690-1433A rural area is defined as any area other than a city ortown that has a population of more than 50,000 and theurbanized area contiguous and adjacent to such a cityor town.Page 80 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Rural Business Opportunity Grants (RBOG) Providing grants for community planning, technical assistance, and training for rural businessesProgram Basics Applicants must also have significant expertise in the activities proposed and financial strength to ensure theThe purpose of the Rural Business Opportunity Grant objectives of the proposed grant can be accomplished.(RBOG) Program is to promote sustainable economicdevelopment in rural communities with exceptional Applicants must also be able to show that the fundingneeds. This is accomplished by making grants to pay will result in economic development of a rural areacosts of providing economic planning for rural com- (which is defined as any area other than a city or townmunities, technical assistance for rural businesses, or that has a population of greater than 50,000 inhabit-training for rural entrepreneurs or economic develop- ants and the urbanized area contiguous and adjacent toment officials. such a city or town). Projects must include a basis for determining the success or failure of the project and as-Application and Financial Information sessing its impact.Projects eligible for RBOG funding are ranked from the Grant funds may not be used for:highest to the lowest scoring according to the sustain-ability and quality of the economic activity expected; • Duplication of current services or replacement orthe amount of leveraging of other funds; economic con- substitution of support previously providedditions in the service area, and the project’s usefulness • Costs of preparing the applicationas a new best practice. • Costs incurred before the date of the grantApplications are funded up to the maximum amountavailable in any given funding cycle. The statutory • Political activitieslimit for Fiscal Year 2008 (FY08) was $2.6 million,and for FY09 and FY10 was $2.5 million. The size of • Acquisition of real estate, building construction, orgrants approved is limited by the amount of program developmentfunds available. Most FY 2008 grants were $50,000 or Websiteless. www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/rbog.htmApplications are filed with the Rural DevelopmentState Office in the state where the grant purposes will Contactbe carried out. First, obtain a copy of the program reg-ulation (4284-G) and refer to the application section. Check your telephone directory under “Federal Gov-A complete application must be filed before it will be ernment” or visit the Rural Development Field Officescored. An application can be obtained at: http://www. website (http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/) to obtain ad-rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/rbog.htm. dresses and telephone numbers of state offices. For fur- ther information on this program, please call the stateEligibility, Uses, and Restrictions office servicing your state.To be eligible for a Rural Business Opportunity Grant Cindy Mason(RBOG), an applicant must be a public body, nonprofit National Program Officecorporation, Indian Tribe or cooperative with members Rural Business-Cooperative Servicethat are primarily rural residents. Phone: (202) 690-1433Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 81
    • Rural Collaborative Investment Program (RCIP) Funding regional rural and economic developmentProgram Basics WebsiteSection 6028 of the 2008 Farm Bill authorized the estab- www.rurdev.usda.gov/rd/farmbill.htmllishment of a Rural Collaborative Investment Program(RCIP) within the USDA. The RCIP would encour- Contactage multi-sector (regional) community and economic Duane Ischerdevelopment across rural America. Regional develop- Phone: (919) 873-2067ment efforts promote the crafting of broad development Duane.ischer@usda.govstrategies, provide efficiency in obtaining professionaland technical assistance needed for the implementationof those strategies, and encourage collaboration amongthe various funding entities, including USDA.The Program is to be administered through a NationalRural Investment Board, consisting of 14 members ap-pointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. The Boardwould certify the eligibility of Regional Boards andprovide technical assistance and grants to support theBoards. The statute also authorizes the National Boardto establish a National Institute on Regional RuralCompetiveness and Entrepreneurship, which wouldprovide analytical and programmatic support to the Na-tional and Regional Boards.Grants provided by the National Board could be usedto:• Develop long-term investment strategies for the re- gion, including the research and studies needed to document current conditions and provide the basis for the new strategy.• Provide up to 50 percent of the cost to implement specific portions of the strategy, such as, building of critical infrastructure; provide essential public and community facilities; supporting value-added agri- culture; or job training.NOTE: While Congress authorized the expenditure ofup to $135 million for Fiscal Years 2009 through 2012,no funds have yet been provided by the AppropriationsCommittees for the RCIP.Page 82 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program (RCDG) Providing grants to establish and operate centers for cooperative developmentProgram Basics Grants are awarded on a competitive basis and are based on specific selection criteria. These criteria areRural Cooperative Development Grants are made for published each year in Federal Register notices. Prefer-establishing and operating centers for cooperative de- ence will be given to applications that:velopment to improve the economic condition of ruralareas by developing new cooperatives and improving • Demonstrate a proven track record in administeringoperations of existing cooperatives. The USDA aims to a national, regional or statewide projectencourage and stimulate the development of effective • Demonstrate previous expertise in providing tech-cooperative organizations in rural America as a part of nical assistance to cooperatives in rural areasits total package of rural development efforts. In FiscalYear 2009 (FY09), RCDG received $5.9 million, and in • Demonstrate an ability to assist in business retentionFY10 it received $11.4 million in federal appropriations. • Facilitate the establishment of cooperatives and new cooperative approaches, and generate employ-Project Examples ment opportunities that will improve the economicExamples of cooperative development activities that conditions of rural areascould be funded under this program include: • Demonstrate the ability to work with coopera-• Providing services to newly developing coopera- tive businesses among various sectors in the rural United States and link to domestic and international tives in its geographic area on organizational guid- markets ance, cooperative development strategies, business plans, and feasibility analyses • Commit to providing assistance to underserved and economically distressed rural areas• Arranging training on cooperative organization and management skills • Commit to providing more than a 25 percent match- ing contribution with private funds and in-kind• Developing expertise in financial management, contributions bookkeeping/accounting, and cooperative law to en- able hands-on assistance to developing cooperatives • Show evidence of transferability or demonstration value to assist rural areas outside of project area• Evaluating the potential for development of a base of support for cooperative programs within local • Demonstrate positive environmental stewardship communities to ensure that needed leadership is Website mobilized. Groups may seek financial, legal, or other assistanceEligibility, Uses, and Restrictions from a RCDG-funded center for a cooperative venture.Nonprofit corporations and institutions of higher edu- To find the center serving your multi-state region, visitcation are eligible to receive grants. Grants may go to this website and click on “grant recipients.”eligible recipients in rural areas to form and operate www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/coops/rcdg/rcdg.htmcenters for cooperative development — for providingeducation, research, and technical assistance to ruralcooperatives and assisting the cooperative develop- Contactment process. Andrew Jermolowicz Assistant Deputy AdministratorGrants may be awarded for up to 75 percent of the to- USDA Rural Developmenttal cost of the project. The applicant must contribute at Phone: (202) 720-7558least 25 percent from nonfederal sources. andrew.jermolowicz@wdc.usda.govBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page 83
    • Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Providing grants to support energy efficiency and renewable energy developmentProgram Basics and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 260,000,000 pounds. In addition, Maine Woods Pellet Company es-The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), Sec- timates that consumers will save 35-40 percent on theirtion 9007 of the Farm Bill (formerly Section 9006 heating costs when using the product.Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Im-provements Program) offers the following assistance Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative findsfor projects located in rural areas: Green Solution - The Rural Electric Convenience Co- operative (RECC) was looking for a way to add renew-1. Guaranteed loans to promote energy efficiency and able energy to its portfolio. The cooperative decided renewable energy development for agricultural to install a utility scale wind turbine. Beyond its en- producers and rural small businesses. The 2008 vironmental benefits, it would reduce their wholesale Farm Bill expanded the program to include ocean power requirements and be a hedge against rising fuel and hydroelectric source technologies as eligible costs. renewable technologies. The loan limit has been increased to $25 million. The co-op had access to a unique 60-foot reclaimed re- fuse mound at an abandoned coal mine in their service2. Grants to agricultural producers and rural small area near Farmersville. The height of the mound and businesses to purchase and install renewable energy the movement of the wind up the hill could generate ad- systems and make energy efficiency improvements equate winds to support a 220 foot, 900 kilowatt wind or to complete a feasibility study for a renewable turbine. The only problem left was how to make it af- energy system. fordable.In addition, the grant program will also provide grants RECC’s board voted to purchase a wind turbine pend-for units of State, Tribal, or local government; institu- ing affordable financing. They applied for and receivedtions of higher education; rural electric cooperatives; a Rural Development Renewable Energy grant foror public power entities to conduct energy audits and $375,000. By combining this grant with zero percentprovide renewable energy development assistance to Clean Renewable Energy Bonds from Co-Bank backedagricultural producers and rural small businesses. by Rural Development, state grants, and green tags pur-Project Examples chased by the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foun- dation, RECC put together adequate financing.Maine Woods Pellet Company, LLC Homeownersand businesses are increasingly looking to the wood The wind turbine was installed and can producepellet industry for a source of clean, efficient energy. 5,000,000 kilowatts a year, satisfying five percent ofUSDA Rural Development provided a $400,000 Re- the co-op’s power needs. That’s a significant amount ofnewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Pro- power considering that the co-op serves 5,700 agricul-gram Grant to Maine Woods Pellet Company, LLC tural, commercial, and residential customers in a fiveto purchase and install wood pellet manufacturing county area. The turbine will improve the coopera-equipment. tive’s environmental footprint, replace some of the power the coop purchases, and act as a hedge againstThe establishment of Maine Woods Pellet Company, unpredictable fuel costs.LLC, in Athens, has led to the hiring of 26 full- andtwo part-time employees. Maine Woods Pellet Com- Abbigator, Inc.pany, LLC produces 100,000 tons of pellets per year, USDA Rural Development helped Abbigator, Inc be-replacing an estimated 12,000,000 gallons of fuel oil come more efficient with a $49,934 grant to install an energy-efficient water pump and heating system at thePage 84 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • company’s alligator production facility. Abbigator ex- Note: Funds may not be used for agricultural tillagepects to reduce its energy usage by 39 percent as a equipment, vehicles, or residential improvements.result of these improvements. Contact InformationApplications and Financial Information To request further information or apply for funding un-Grants are awarded on a competitive basis and can be der the REAP Program, please contact your state Ru-up to 25% of total eligible project costs. Grants are ral Development office: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/limited to $500,000 for renewable energy systems and recd_map.html$250,000 for energy efficiency improvements. Grantrequests as low as $2,500 for renewable energy systems A list of state Rural Energy Coordinators is availableand $1,500 for energy efficiency improvements will be here: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/considered. At least 20% of the grant funds awarded EnergyCoordinatorList.docmust be for grants of $20,000 or less.Guaranteed loans can be up to 75 percent of total eli-gible project costs, have a minimum of $5,000, and arelimited to a maximum of $25 million.Applications and information on deadlines can befound by contacting through state offices.REAP was funded at $60 million for Fiscal Year 2009(FY09) and $99.3 million for FY10.Eligibility, Uses and RestrictionsFunds must be used for the purchase of a renewableenergy system or to make energy efficiency improve-ments.Renewable energy systems provide energy derivedfrom wind, solar, biomass, biogas, ocean, hydro, orgeothermal sources, or hydrogen derived from biomassor water using wind, solar, hydroelectric or geothermalenergy.Energy efficiency improvements typically involve in-stalling or upgrading equipment that results in a sig-nificant reduction in energy use from current opera-tions. Energy efficiency improvements to the businessinclude HVAC systems, insulation, refrigeration, light-ing, irrigation systems, pumping systems, air systems,motor systems, etc.Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 85
    • Rural Energy Self-Sufficiency Initiative Enabling rural communities to increase their energy self-sufficiencyProgram Summary Website:Authorized under section 9009 of the 2008 Farm Bill, http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/bprogs.htmthe Rural Energy Self-Sufficiency Initiative establishesa new program to enable rural communities to increase Contact Informationtheir energy self-sufficiency. This grant program maybe used to conduct community energy assessments, USDA Rural Development, Business Programs,develop and analyze methods for reducing energy use Energy Branchfrom conventional sources, and develop and install in- 1400 Independence Ave. SWtegrated renewable energy systems. Integrated renew- Mail Stop 3225able energy systems are defined as community-wide Washington, DC 20250systems that reduce conventional energy use and incor-porate renewable energy use. Visit the program website The principal contact is Anthony (Tony) Ashby atlisted below for updates. (202)720-0661 or Anthony.ashby@wdc.usda.govProject ExamplesAs of this printing, the agency has not developed guide-lines to implement the program. Thus, it has not dis-bursed funds for any projects. Program funding is ex-pected to be available in FY 2010.Application and Financial InformationAuthorized appropriations are $5 million annually forFY 2009-12.Eligibility, Uses, and RestrictionsThe highest priority will be given to institutions ofhigher education or nonprofit foundations of institu-tions of higher education, Federal, State, or local gov-ernment agencies, public or private power generationentities, or government entities with responsibility forwater or natural resources. Federal cost-share for anygrant is limited to 50% of project cost.Page 86 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) Providing rural entrepreneurs with skills for establishing new or continuing existing micro-enterprisesProgram Basics Through MDOs, RMAP will particularly assist ru- ral sole proprietorships or businesses with less thanThe Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program ten employees which could not obtain funding from(RMAP) is a new USDA Rural Development program other lending sources due to lack of credit or lim-created in the 2008 Farm Bill to provide entrepreneurs ited business development experience.in rural areas with the skills necessary to establish newbusinesses and continue operation of existing rural mi- • Grants to support microenterprise developmentcroenterprises. provide funding to MDOs to provide training, op- erational support, business planning, market devel-RMAP provides loans and grants to Microenterprise opment assistance, and other services to rural mi-Development Organizations (MDOs), which in turn croentrepreneurs. Grants will be targeted to organi-provide technical services and distribute microloans to zations which serve microenterprises in rural areasrural microentrepreneurs. The MDOs are not required that have suffered significant outward migration;to be located in a rural area to be eligible to participate to the greatest extent possible, USDA is directed tobut microentrepreneurs must be. Microenterprises may ensure that recipients will be organizations of vary-be, but do not have to be, food or agriculture-related. ing sizes and those which serve racially and ethni-A few MDOs have already been successful at assist- cally diverse populations.ing microentrepreneurs start businesses in rural areas. • Grants to assist microentrepreneurs fund MDOsLenders and entrepreneurs have received funds through to provide marketing, management, and other tech-other USDA programs such as the Intermediary Re- nical assistance to microentrepreneurs who have al-lending Program or Rural Business Enterprise Grants, ready received or applied for a loan through sectionthrough the Small Business Administration’s Microen- (1) above. The maximum annual grant award canterprise Assistance Program, or through private, philan- be no more than 25 percent of the organization’sthropic, or venture capital funds. The SBA program is outstanding microloan balance. This assistancegenerally fully subscribed and provides rural microen- could include but is not limited to networking, on-terprise assistance in only one state. RMAP now gives line collaboration and marketing, grant-writing, en-USDA the funds to fill that void. trepreneurship workshops or conferences.Application and Financial Information FundingThe RMAP program provides three categories of fund- The 2008 Farm Bill authorizes $15 million in manda-ing through MDOs in either loans or grants: tory funding over four years for the RMAP program.• Loans to microentrepreneurs through MDOs The program is also authorized to receive up to an addi- provide fixed interest rate microloans of less than tional $40 million a year in discretionary funding. For $50,000 to rural entrepreneurs for the develop- fiscal year 2010, RMAP was funded at $9 million. ment of startup or successful microenterprises in rural areas. Loans through MDOs cannot exceed a Eligibility, Uses, and Restrictions twenty-year timeframe and need to bear an annual interest rate of at least 1 percent. Each MDO must MDOs can include nonprofit entities, Indian tribes, or establish a loan loss reserve fund and keep at least 5 public institutions of higher education; they must fa- percent of the outstanding loan balance in reserves. cilitate access to capital and have a demonstrated re- cord or future plan of delivering vital services to ruralBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page 87
    • microentrepreneurs. Rural Development Business Programs at this site: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/bpdir.htm.Examples of Current Microenterprise DevelopmentOrganizations Contact InformationThe Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons, NE, has Jody Raskind, Directorbeen operating its Rural Enterprise Assistance Project Specialty Lenders Division (SLD)(REAP) since 1990. REAP is a microenterprise pro- USDA Rural Development – Business Programsgram “that delivers small business training, network- jody.raskind@wdc.usda.goving, one-on-one technical assistance, and micro lending 202-720-1400to businesses that are members of a REAP ‘association’or members of the REAP Individual Program.”North Carolina Rural Economic Development Cen-ter, Inc.’s Business Loan Program has been providingloans to rural small businesses since 1989. Their Mi-croenterprise Loan Program works in partnership withsmall business centers at local community colleges andtechnology development centers to provide technicalassistance and business planning to microenterprises.Example of Microloan BeneficiariesLil’ LadybugWith the help of the Association for Enterprise Oppor-tunity’s cash equity microloan of $2000 and the Cen-ter for Rural Affairs’ REAP training sessions, KarenRunkle of Hay Springs, NE, started a tomato marketingbusiness called Lil’ Ladybug. The microenterprise ismarketing tomatoes indirectly to farmers’ markets andCommunity Supported Agriculture operations (CSAs)and directly from her greenhouse to consumers.The Quilter’s CottagePhyllis Hamaker opened The Quilter’s Cottage in Jan-uary, 2001 after purchasing inventory and remodelingthe space with her husband. After purchasing more in-ventory, however, she found that she needed additionalworking capital to make improvements to the store.A REAP loan was approved by The Center for RuralAffairs in 2004, and the business continued to grow.Hamaker has now expanded to an even larger buildingwhere she teaches quilting classes and continues to sellher artwork.Website InformationA website specifically for RMAP has not yet beenlaunched, but will likely be located with other USDAPage 88 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) Providing low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for eligible foods at farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture programsProgram Basics Eligibility, Uses, and RestrictionsThe Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFM- Low-income seniors, generally defined as individualsNP) aims to: who are at least 60 years old with household incomes at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty income• Provide resources to low-income seniors in the guidelines (published each year by the Department of form of fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown Health and Human Services), are the targeted recipients fruits, vegetables, herbs, and honey from farmers’ of SFMNP benefits. Some state agencies accept proof markets, roadside stands, and community-support- of participation or enrollment in another means-tested ed agriculture programs program, such as the Commodity Supplemental Food• Increase the domestic consumption of agricultural Program or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Pro- commodities by expanding or aiding in the expan- gram (SNAP – formerly called the Food Stamp Pro- sion of domestic farmers’ markets, roadside stands, gram) for SFMNP eligibility. and community-supported agriculture programs SFMNP benefits are provided to eligible participantsProject Examples for use during the harvest season. In states with short growing seasons, the SFMNP season is also relative- In 2008 grants were made to 49 states, including sev- ly short. In other states with longer growing seasons,eral Indian Tribal Organizations, the District of Colum- participants have a longer period in which to use theirbia, and Puerto Rico. State departments of agriculture, SFMNP benefits.aging, and health and Tribal governments administer-ing the grants developed creative partnerships to ex- Websitepand service to seniors and certify and distribute ben- www.fns.usda.gov/wic/seniorFMNP/SFMNPmenu.efits to the estimated 697,000 low-income seniors the htmprogram was expected to serve in 2008. The website for the state contacts is www.fns.usda.gov/To eliminate barriers to access, several programs pro- wic/seniorFMNP/SFMNPcontacts.htm.vide seniors with transportation to and from the markets Contact Informationthrough a partnership with senior centers or arrange forlocal growers to take their produce directly to senior Mark Byronhousing facilities. Supplemental Food Programs Division E-mail: mark.byron@fns.usda.govApplication and Financial Information Phone: (703) 305-2733 The 2008 Farm Bill authorized mandatory funding of$20.6 million annually for the SFMNP, through FiscalYear 2012. The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Serviceadministers the program and awards grants to individ-ual state agencies to fund it. The state agencies thendistribute the money to low-income seniors in the formof coupons.Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 89
    • Small Business Innovative Research Program (SBIR) Stimulating participation in technological innovation and commercialization by small businessesProgram Basics aquaculture; biofuels and biobased products; market- ing and trade; animal manure management; small andThe Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) pro- mid-size farms and plant production and protection -gram is a government-wide program that provides engineering.competitive research funding for qualified small busi-nesses. There are eleven federal agencies that partici- USDA SBIR Project Examplespate in SBIR that include, Dept. of Agriculture, Dept. Phase Iof Commerce, Dept. of Defense, Dept. of Education,Dept. of Energy, Dept. of Health and Human Services • High Efficiency Trail Assessment Process for Ru-(primarily the National Institutes of Health), Dept. of ral Trails: Beneficial Designs Inc, NV was awardedHomeland Security, Dept. of Transportation, Environ- a $80,000 Phase I grant to integrate new and exist-mental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and ing technologies to create a high efficiency trail as-Space Administration, and National Science Founda- sessment (HETAP) instrument that will enable thetion. Each agency administers its own SBIR program collection of objective information in a timely andbut the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office cost-efficient manner. With over 80% of Americansof Innovation, Research, and Technology (www.sba. using trails for walking and other activities, bothgov/sbir) oversees the SBIR program across the federal trail users and land managers would obtain sub-government. stantial benefits from the availability of objective information in outdoor, natural environments. It isThe objectives of the SBIR Program are to stimu- anticipated that the need for an efficient measure-late technological innovations in the private sector, ment system will increase as the proposed Ameri-strengthen the role of small businesses in meeting fed- cans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelineseral research and development needs, increase private for Outdoor Developed areas are formalized.sector commercialization of innovations derived fromagency-supported research and development efforts, • Passive Self-Regulating Denitrification Technol-and foster and encourage participation by women- ogy for Aquaculture: Aquaculture Systems Tech-owned and socially and economically disadvantaged nologies, LLC, LA received a grant for $77,267 tosmall business firms in technological innovations. investigate the potential for using Polyhydroxyal- kanotes (PHAs), a biodegradable biopolymer, pro-The SBIR grant program is divided into two phases. duced from sugar fermentation, as an alternativePhase I supports technical feasibility studies. Phase carbon source for denitrification in recirculatingII provides financial assistance for Phase I projects to aquaculture systems. The denitrification capabilityenter the development stage to the point of commer- of PHA will be quantified and a predictive com-cialization. Businesses are encouraged to pursue Phase puter model will be developed for estimating PHAIII — commercialization — through other sources, as carbon release as a system design tool. Addition-SBIR does not provide funding for expansion, market- ally, the commercial feasibility of employing PHAsing, and application of the developed technology. as a simple, low-cost alternative to the relatively complex existing treatment methods will be inves-The USDA SBIR program awards grants in the follow- tigated.ing 12 topic categories: forests and related resources;plant production and protection - biology; animal pro- • Goldenseal, Germplasm Improvement Throughduction and protection; air, water, and soils; food sci- Micropropagation: Under the Rural Develop-ence and nutrition; rural and community development; ment Topic area Sleepy Hollow Farm, GA receivedPage 90 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • a $80,000 grant to adapt an existing technology, Applications in the form of program solicitations are micro-propagation, to address an important need in generally available and open in early June and close the fledging medicinal plant industry, high quality in early September. Pre-applications and proposals are planting stock development. It will determine the not accepted, but advice may be sought from the SBIR suitability of a basic micro-propagation system for program office at any time at 202-401-4002. Hydrastis canadensis, developed at the university level, for commercial production. Eligibility, Uses and RestrictionsUSDA SBIR Phase II To be eligible for Phase I or Phase II grants, the busi- ness, which can be a small farm, cannot have more than• Developing an Artificial Diet for the Honey Bee: 500 employees (full time, part-time, temporary, or oth- S.A.F.E R&D, NV Received a $296,000 grant to er). Only Phase I winners are eligible to submit Phase address the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) II proposals. The principal investigator must work for which has been linked to the 40-60 percent decline the small business a minimum of 51% of his/her time. in America ‘s honeybee populations whose pollina- tion is valued at $15 billion annually to U.S. ag- Website riculture. This research advanced honey bee nu- The program solicitation, proposal preparation instruc- trition and provided beekeepers a tool to improve tions, evaluation criteria, considerations, information honey bee vigor. sources, research topic descriptions, technical abstracts,• Pneumatic Conveyance Technology for Native and information on upcoming national conferences are Seed Harvesters: Arbuckle Ranch, Inc., MO re- available on the USDA SBIR website. ceived a grant for $296,000 to address issues with www.nifa.usda.gov/fo/sbir harvesting seeds. The native seed industry is grow- ing rapidly to meet increasing demand for more sbir@nifa.usda.gov seed species in commercial quantities. However, Contact Information the morphology of the seed of many important spe- cies of native grasses makes them difficult to har- SBIR Program Office sbir@csrees.usda.gov vest resulting in limited supplies and high prices. 202-401-4002 Combines and other conventional harvesters such as strippers are often unable to effectively carry out Dr. Charles F. Cleland one or more of the key steps of harvest: 1) dislodge- SBIR National Program Leader ment, 2) separation, 3) conveyance, and 4) offload- 202-401-6852 ing. This creates an opportunity for new devices ccleland@csrees.usda.gov such as the pneumatic conveyance system on the Arbuckle Native Seedster that improve seed han- Dr. William Goldner dling efficiency and overall productivity. SBIR National Program Leader 202-401-1719Application and Financial Information wgoldner@csrees.usda.govPhase I grants are for 8 months and do not exceed$90,000. Phase II grants are for 24 months and do notexceed $400,000. Permission for no-cost extensionsmay be granted.Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 91
    • Small Farm Program Enhancing the economic viability of small farms and ranchesProgram Basics For more information and other details of our program, please visit http://www.nifa.usda.gov/nea/ag_systems/The goal of the NIFA National Small Farm Program in_focus/small_farms.htmlis to enhance the economic viability of all small farmand ranch enterprises, and promote research, extension,and outreach programs, primarily through partnerships Contactswith the Land-Grant University System and with otherpublic and private sector organizations. Denis Ebodaghe, Ph.D., National Program Leader for Small Farms,The Small Farm Program facilitates several small farm USDA-NIFA, Economic & Community Systemsprograms at Land-Grant Colleges and Universities. An 800 9th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20250overview of some of these state programs is available 202-401-4385, Fax: 202-690-3162on the Small Farm website: http://www.nifa.usda.gov/ debodaghe@nifa.usda.govnea/ag_systems/in_focus/small_farms.html Patricia McAleer, Program SpecialistThe National Small Farm Program facilitates a national USDA-NIFAsmall farm conference, a train-the-trainer event held Economic & Community Systemsevery three or four years in different regions across 800 9th Street, SWthe country to promote successful programs for small Washington, DC 20250farmers and ranchers. Phone: 202-720-2635The program also publishes monthly newsletters Fax: 202-690-3162(Small Farm Highlights and Small Farm News) that pmcaleer@nifa.usda.govare sent through Listservs to outreach professionalsworking with small scale producers. The program alsopublishes on-line a Small Farm Digest that highlights atopic of importance to small scale farmers and ranchersevery six months.The Small Farm Program facilitates the USDA Grantwriting workshop series, conducted at selected sites na-tionwide to benefit smaller institutions and community-based organizations. USDA agencies have designatedleaders who are involved in this effort to ensure that thisworkshop is undertaken with the mindset of increasingsuccess rates in proposal submissions from smaller in-stitutions and community-based organizations.Other services include the Small Farm Resource Guide,and the NIFA Small Farm toll-free InfoLine ( 800-583-3071) that helps farmers and ranchers speak to NIFAsmall farm experts Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m.to 4:30 p.m. eastern time.Page 92 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBG) Enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops through state departments of agricultureProgram Basics California Sustainable Winegrowing Certification Program as an incentive to speed winegrowers’The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program – Farm Bill adoption of sustainable practices that demonstrate(SCBGP-FB) provides block grants to state depart- environmental stewardship and social responsi-ments of agriculture to enhance the competitiveness of bility while enhancing the competitiveness of thespecialty crops. Federal funds totaling $49 million in State’s wine grapes and wine.fiscal year 2009 have been provided for this program,and $55 million each in fiscal years 2010 through 2012 • Delaware Department of Agriculture: Partner withis expected. Delaware State University Smyrna Outreach and Research Center to provide Delaware organic veg-SCBGP-FB funds can be requested for a wide range of etable growers assistance with all natural pest con-projects that enhance the competiveness of fruits, vege- trol and management.tables, tree nuts, dried fruit, horticulture, nursery crops,and floriculture including, but not limited to: increasing • Wyoming Department of Agriculture: Partner withchild and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption the Wyoming Business Council to develop a Wyo-of specialty crops; participation of industry representa- ming Organic Trade Association to assist in educa-tives at meetings of international standard setting bod- tion and promotion of specialty crops through creat-ies in which the US government participates; improving ing an inventory and database of organic producers.efficiency and reducing costs of distribution systems;assisting all entities in the specialty crop distribution • Michigan Department of Agriculture: Partner withchain in developing “Good Agricultural Practices,” Michigan State University to encourage the devel-“Good Handling Practices,” “Good Manufacturing opment of a scientifically-based policy using sen-Practices,” and in cost-share arrangements for funding sors to determine soil conditions so that excessiveaudits of such systems for small farmers, packers and water is not applied. Conduct a testing protocolprocessors; investing in specialty crop research, includ- based on previous research on strategies to opti-ing organic research to focus on conservation and en- mize spray irrigation by monitoring soil assimila-vironmental outcomes; enhancing food safety; devel- tion capacity.oping new and improved seed varieties and specialty Application and Financial Information.crops; pest and disease control; and sustainability. Allstate departments of agriculture in the fifty states, the A list of contacts in each state department of agricul-District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto ture, the amounts of federal funds provided to eachRico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin state, and project awards can be viewed on the InternetIslands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mari- at www.ams.usda.gov/scbgp.ana Islands are eligible to apply. States are especially For each fiscal year, each state that submits an applica-encouraged to develop projects involving partnerships tion that is reviewed and approved by SCBGP-FB iswith producer groups, academia, non-profit organiza- to receive at least an amount that is equal to the highertions, community-based organizations, or other states of $100,000, or 1⁄3 of 1 percent of the total amount ofto address practical problems faced by the specialty funding made available for that fiscal year to enhancecrop industry. the competitiveness of specialty crops. In addition,Project Examples each state will receive an amount that represents the proportion of the value of specialty crop production in• California Department of Food and Agriculture: the state in relation to the national value of specialty Partner with the California Sustainable Winegrow- crop production using the latest available complete ing Alliance to develop, implement and promote aBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page 93
    • specialty crop production data set in all states whoseapplications are accepted.Each fiscal year, the SCBGP-FB will publish a FederalRegister notice announcing the program and solicitinggrant applications. The notice will include the amountof grant funds available to each State and the applica-tion period.Eligibility, Uses, and RestrictionsOnly state departments of agriculture are eligible to ap-ply for direct funding. However, others, including, butnot limited to: producer groups, academia, non-profitorganizations, community-based organizations, or oth-er states are encouraged to work with their state depart-ments of agriculture to develop SCBGP-FB proposals.Capital expenditures for the acquisition cost of capitalassets (equipment, buildings, land), or expenditures tomake improvements to capital assets that materially in-crease their value or useful life are not allowable.Grant funds will not be awarded for projects that solelybenefit a particular commercial product or provide aprofit to a single organization, institution, or individual.Single organizations, institutions, and individuals areencouraged to participate as project partners.Websitewww.ams.usda.gov/scbgpContactOrganizations interested in developing a proposalshould contact their state department of agriculture foradditional information and guidance.Trista Etzig, SCBGP-FB Project ManagerAgricultural Marketing Service, USDA1400 Independence Avenue SWRoom 2077-SWashington, DC 20250Phone: (202) 690-4942; Fax: (202) 720-0016E-mail: trista.etzig@usda.govPage 94 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) Integrating research and extension work and encouraging systems work on specialty cropsProgram Basics 2. Coordinated Agricultural Projects to address specific multiple components of a primary systemThe Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) seeks to or multiple components of areas where primary sys-solve critical United States specialty crop issues, pri- tems overlap. Funding period – three to five years,orities, or problems through the integration of research with grants generally not exceeding $2,000,000 perand extension activities that take systems-based, trans- yeardisciplinary approaches. Specialty crops are defined inlaw as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and 3. Regional Partnerships for Innovation to formhorticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. partnerships that provide the local or regional in- frastructure needed to fully exploit future technol-The intent of the SCRI is to solve the needs of the vari- ogy commercialization and adoption. Funding pe-ous specialty crop industries through the promotion of riod – two to three years, with grants not exceedingcollaboration, open communication, the exchange of in- $2,000,000 per projectformation and the development of resources that accel-erate application of scientific discovery and technology. 4. eXtension Projects to develop Communities of Practice (COPs) for the eXtension system and toSCRI will give priority to projects that are multistate, support existing COPs. Funding period – threemulti-institutional, or trans-disciplinary. Note: SCRE to five years, with grants normally not exceedingdoes not fund start-up businesses. $500,000 per projectSCRI has five legislatively mandated focus areas: 5. Research and Extension Planning Projects to provide assistance to applicants in the development1. Research in plant breeding, genetics, and genomics of quality proposals. Funding period – one year, to improve crop characteristics with grants up to $50,000 per project.2. Efforts to identify and address threats from pests Examples of Funded Projects and diseases, including threats to specialty crop pollinators In 2008, the University of Vermont received $100,000 for a Research and Planning project to identify the criti-3. Efforts to improve production efficiency, produc- cal needs for growers, using a public-private partner- tivity, and profitability over the long term (includ- ship among growers, researchers, extension specialists ing specialty crop policy and marketing) and educators, biological control suppliers, state agri-4. New innovations and technology, including im- cultural personnel, economists and representatives of proved mechanization and technologies that delay other key industry sectors or inhibit ripening; and In 2008, The Ohio State University received $1,113,2145. Methods to prevent, detect, monitor, control, and to investigate social networking and the market and respond to potential food safety hazards in the pro- commercialization infrastructure for Midwestern fruit duction and processing of specialty crops, includ- and vegetable crops in local food systems ing fresh produce. WebsiteIn FY 2009, approximately $47,300,000 were available http://www.nifa.usda.gov/fo/to fund five types of project: specialtycropresearchinitiative.cfm1. Standard Research and Extension Projects to Contact Information support targeted problem-solving efforts. Funding period - up to five years, with grants not normally Dr. Thomas Bewick Phone: (202) 401 - 3356 exceeding $2,000,000 Fax: (202) 401 - 4888 Email: tbewick@nifa.usda.govBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page 95
    • Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE) Advancing innovations that improve profitability, stewardship and quality of life by investing in groundbreaking research and education.Program Basics Project examplesSARE is a grant making and outreach program ad- SARE has funded more than 4,000 projects since 1988.vancing sustainable agriculture across the whole of Some examples are:American agriculture. Successful SARE grantees areproducers, researchers, nonprofit organizations and ed- • In Vermont, one SARE-funded farmer is produc-ucators engaged in projects that simultaneously address ing biofuel from his fields of canola, which func-the three Ps of sustainability: tions well as both an energy source and cover crop. The farmer also sells the byproduct, canola meal,• Profit over the long term for cattle feed, which helps ensure profitability.• Protection of the land and water • Hundreds of Southern growers adopted SARE- funded researchers’ recommendations for pest-• People (communities) who depend on agriculture plagued cotton: conservation tillage, cover cropsSARE is grassroots: Four regional councils of produc- and various seeding tactics. The result: fewer pes-ers, researchers, educators and government representa- ticide applications, less erosion, better yields andtives set SARE policies and make grants. higher profits.SARE Outreach produces and distributes practical in- • A project in Illinois, Michigan and Missouri helpedformation based on the program’s more than 20 years extension and other educators design assistanceof research results. programs for Latino communities, one of the country’s fastest growing farming populations.SARE also conducts educational and extension pro-grams in an effort to increase knowledge about—and • With a SARE professional development grant, ahelp farmers and ranchers adopt—sustainable farming Nevada educator oversaw development of a wide-practices. reaching curriculum for agricultural educators focusing on growing plants and animals on smallSARE is funded by USDA’s National Institute of Food properties in environmentally sensitive areas.and Agriculture (NIFA) and since its beginning in 1988 The curriculum, co-developed with extension edu-has invested a total of $161 million in more than 4,000 cators in seven neighboring states, covers the basicsinitiatives. of goal-setting, soils, water, vegetation and animals.Grant Making Program Grant informationSARE’s four regional offices administer three primary Each SARE region solicits proposals and awardsgrant programs: Research and Education, Professional grants. All grant programs have only one applicationDevelopment and Farmer/Rancher. Some regions offer period per year; each grant type (see below for the threeadditional grant opportunities for community innova- primary grant types) has its own application, deadlinetion, graduate student research, agricultural profession- and focus.als conducting on-farm research, and region-specificinitiatives. • Research and Education Grants ($60,000 to $150,000): These grants fund projects that usu- ally involve scientists, producers and others in an interdisciplinary approach. Many projects involvePage 96 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • on-farm research trials, economic analysis and out- SARE handbooks reach. The program also funds education and dem- onstration projects. Producers can team up with Free downloads are available at www.sare.org. To or- technical experts (such as a university researcher) der, call (301) 374-9696. A sample of SARE titles in- to apply. clude:• Producer Grants ($1,000 to $30,000): This grant • Crop Rotation on Organic Farms is for producers who want to test an idea. Projects • Manage Insects on Your Farm typically involve on-farm research with crops or livestock, marketing and/or educational activities. • Managing Cover Crops Profitably Producers are expected to partner with an extension • Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Devel- professional or other agricultural adviser, and share oping a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Busi- their results with others. nesses• Professional Development Grants ($10,000 to • Building Soils for Better Crops $100,000): These grants spread knowledge about sustainable concepts and practices among Coopera- • How to Direct Market Your Beef tive Extension Service (CES) staff and other agri- culture professionals using a variety of approaches, • Youth Renewing the Countryside from workshops to educational videos to on-farm Bulletins training sessions. Proposals that involve both ex- tension staff and producers are preferred. Partner- Free information bulletins for producers and agricultur- ships of nonprofits with extension and/or Natural al professionals are available at www.sare.org, or call Resource Conservation Service staff are welcome. (301) 504-5236. Topics include: Grants also provide opportunities for NRCS and other field agency staff. • Clean Energy Farming: Cutting Costs, Improving Efficiencies, Harnessing RenewablesCheck SARE’s regional offices for information on oth-er grant opportunities. SARE’s regional contacts and • Diversifying Cropping Systemswebsites are listed at the end of this section. • A Whole-Farm Approach to Managing PestsEligibility, Uses and Restrictions • Marketing Strategies for Farmers and RanchersUniversities, nonprofit organizations, government • Rangeland Management Strategiesagency staff and agricultural producers are eligible forSARE grants. • Transitioning to Organic ProductionThe uses and restrictions vary by region and year, de- • Smart Water Use on Your Farm or Ranchpending on the specific call for proposals for a givenyear. Call the regional office for details (see below forcontact information).Outreach: Information ResourcesThe SARE Outreach office and regional communica-tions specialists promote effective communicationabout sustainable agriculture through a variety of print-ed and electronic information tools (for the full rangeof resources, see www.sare.org).Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 97
    • Contacts For books, bulletins and other information resources, For grant information contact your regional SARE contact SARE Outreach:office. SARE Outreach 10300 Baltimore Ave., BARC Bldg. 046 Beltsville, MD 20705 Phone: (301) 504-5236 E-mail: info@sare.org Web: www.sare.org For information on national program management and national initiatives: National Program Office Director, Sustainable Agriculture ProgramsNorth Central Region 1400 Independence Ave., SW120 BAE, University of Minnesota USDA Mail Stop 22231390 Eckles Avenue Washington, D.C. 20250-2223St. Paul, MN 55108 Phone: (202) 720-6527Phone: (612) 626-3113 E-mail: director@sare.orgE-mail: ncrsare@umn.edu InternetWeb: www.sare.org/ncrsare www.sare.orgNortheast RegionUniversity of Vermont655 Spear StreetBurlington, VT 05405-0107Phone: (802) 656-0471E-mail: nesare@uvm.eduWeb: www.nesare.orgSouthern RegionUniversity of Georgia GriffinAgricultural Experiment Station1109 Experiment StreetGriffin, GA 30223-1797Phone: (770) 412-4786E-mail: info@southernsare.orgWeb: www.southernsare.orgWestern RegionUtah State UniversityAg Science 305Logan, UT 84322-4865Phone: (435) 797-2257E-mail: wsare@ext.usu.eduWeb: http://wsare.usu.edu/Page 98 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Urban and Community Forestry Program (U&CF) Providing financial and technical assistance to local governments and others to encourage stewardship of urban and community trees and forest resourcesProgram Basics funds. Livable communities projects have been funded to recipients in Bath, ME, Sacramento, CA, Minneapo-The Urban and Community Forestry (U&CF) Program lis, MN and Fort Mitchell, KY.(http://www.fs.fed.us/ucf/) addresses the stewardshipneeds of natural resources where 80 percent of the na- A Challenge Cost-Share grant was awarded to thetion’s population lives, works, and plays. Because ur- American Public Works Association for their proj-ban quality of life is closely connected with land con- ect “Urban Forest Management and Public Works:version associated with development, there is a strong Improving Communication and Building Capacity,” toeconomic case for conserving and restoring tree cover bridge the communication gap between public worksand green open space to help guide growth, improve the and urban Forestry professionals.livability of community neighborhoods, and revitalizecity centers and older suburbs. The U&CF Program re- Examples of state and regional U&CF projects havesponds to these needs for more than 70 million acres of included: in North Carolina, helping to establish andAmerica’s urban and community forest resources. restore city parks; in Nebraska and Kansas, helping to fund hazard tree assessments, planning assistance andAdministered through USDA Forest Service regional tree planting following devastating tornados, and; inoffices and its State and Private Forestry Northeastern New Mexico, increasing Firewise and Backyard TreeArea, the U&CF Program provides technical, educa- Farm activities that create defensible space for wild-tional and financial assistance to state forestry agencies land urban interface homeowners.and other partners to help local units of government andcommunity organizations maintain, restore, and im- Application and Financial Informationprove the health of urban and community trees, forests, Assistance for local governments and community orga-green spaces, and sustainable urban forest ecosystems. nizations is available primarily through State ForestryHealthy urban and community forests have multiple organizations. Each state issues its own applicationbenefits, including reducing energy use, improving air procedures. Funds are limited by availability and some-quality, and reducing storm water runoff and flooding. times by Congressional or Administration-identifiedThe program provides support for a variety of purpos- priorities. The federal contribution cannot exceed 50es, including preserving urban forest cover, planting percent of the total project costs.and maintaining trees, providing education programs, Some USDA Forest Service regions also provide com-facilitating better use of wood from urban trees, and petitive grants directly to local governments and lo-reducing urban tree waste in landfills. cal or regional organizations for regionally significantProject Examples projects.A Challenge Cost-Share Grant was provided to the Al- The U&CF program funds a competitive, challengeliance for Community Trees to develop a Community cost-share program in cooperation with the NationalTree Leadership Forum. The Forum has successfully Urban & Community Forestry Advisory Council toengaged 110 participants from 93 nonprofits and urban support urban and community forestry activities that areand community forestry groups from 35 states, increas- national or widespread in their impact or application.ing the impact of these community tree groups.Urban and community forestry projects that promotelivable communities have also been granted U&CFBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page 99
    • Eligibility, Uses & RestrictionsCities, towns, municipalities, local governments, andnongovernmental organizations are eligible. Priority isgiven to projects that build local capacity and have thesupport and involvement of communities and volunteergroups.Websitehttp://www.fs.fed.us/ucf/nucfac.html#grantsContactRegional and state contacts can be found at the web-sites: http://www.fs.fed.us/ucf/contact_regional.htmlhttp://www.fs.fed.us/ucf/contact_state.htmlOr contact Keith W Cline at kcline@fs.fed.usPage 100 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG) Encouraging producer groups and cooperatives to create and develop value-added producer owned businessesProgram Basics rent or install fixed equipment. Cash and/or in-kind matching funds are required, must be at least equalThe Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG) program to the amount of Federal funds awarded, and must beprovides competitive grants to individual independent expended in advance, such that for each grant dollaragricultural producers, groups of independent produc- advanced, an equal amount of match shall have beeners, producer-controlled entities, organizations repre- expended first.senting agricultural producers, and farmer or ranchercooperatives to create or develop value-added produc- The program is administered by the Cooperative Di-er-owned businesses. Agricultural producers include vision of USDA’s Rural Business Cooperative Servicefarmers, ranchers, loggers, agricultural harvesters and and grant applications are first screened through eachfishermen that engage in the production or harvesting state’s USDA Rural Development Office.of an agricultural commodity. These enterprises helpincrease farm income, create new jobs, contribute to Examples of Past Grant Recipientscommunity and rural economic development, and en- Nebraska Small Farms Cooperative, Oneill, Ne-hance food choices for consumers. braskaThe term “value-added” includes an agricultural com- The Nebraska Small Farms Cooperative received amodity or product that has undergone a change in phys- $250,000 grant in 2004 to expand its product line andical state or was produced, marketed, or segregated market overseas. The coop has grown from 29 farm-(e.g. identity-preserved, eco-labeling, etc.) in a manner ers/members in 2004 to over 90 today. It markets pre-that enhances its value or expands the customer base of cooked, USDA verified, non-hormone treated meat tothe product. businesses in the U.S. and Europe. Not only has theThe program was first authorized in 2000 and was ex- coop passed value-added profits back to farmers, butpanded as part of the 2002 Farm Bill to include inher- its success has also spilled over to a local meat process-ently value-added production, such as organic crops or ing plant as annual processing contracts were signed tograss-fed livestock. In the 2008 Farm Bill the program benefit both parties.was expanded again to include locally produced and Pinn-Oak Ridge Farm, Delavan, Wisconsinmarketed food products and mid-tier value chains (seebelow). In 2005, Steve and Darlene Pinnow received a $150,000 grant to brand and direct market their pasture-raisedGrants may be used to fund one of the following two lamb. It has allowed them to expand their market fromactivities: 40 restaurants and grocery stores to 60 retailers in Wis-• Develop business plans and feasibility studies (in- consin and Illinois. The Pinnows are now working cluding marketing plans or other planning activi- with a distributor in Chicago who learned about their ties) needed to establish viable marketing opportu- pastured lamb from the USDA announcement of their nities for value-added products; or VAPG grant.• Acquire working capital to operate a value-added Ives Cream, Norwich, New York business venture or alliance. Working capital ap- The Ives family operates a sustainable dairy farm that plications generally must be supported by an inde- has been handed down through six generations. With pendent feasibility study as well as a business plan. the help of a $47,550 VAPG grant in 2004, they plannedGrant funds may not be used for repair, acquisition, or and executed a successful marketing campaign for theirconstruction of a building or facility or to purchase, premium ice cream. Today, they operate a seasonalBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page 101
    • retail ice cream parlor in downtown Norwich, NYwhere great locally-produced ice cream, customer ser-vice, and a community focus have proven to be a win-ning business combination.Prairie Pride, Inc., Deerfield, MissouriThis new-generation, producer cooperative that willbe converting soybean oil into bio-diesel fuel with thehelp of a $300,000 working capital grant in 2006. Thenew facility will ultimately crush 21,000,000 bushelsof soy beans per year to obtain soy oil. The refinerywill then convert that soy oil into 30,000,000 gallonsof bio-diesel.Application and Eligibility InformationThis program has detailed requirements for determin-ing eligibility of applicants, products, and project pur-poses. Be sure to consult the following section of theRBS website for more information, or contact yourstate Rural Development office (see Website sectionbelow for state office locator).http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/coops/applicantsre-quired.htmAn online assessment tool is available to assist you indetermining whether or not you are eligible to apply fora VAPG grant and it is located online at:www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/coops/vapgea.htmWebsiteFor information on when applications are open: www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/coops/vadg.htm.To locate your state USDA Rural Development office:www.rurdev.usda.gov/recd_map.htmlContact InformationGail ThunerUSDA VAPG Program Managergail.thuner@wdc.usda.gov202-690-2426Page 102 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) Restoring and protecting wetlands on private property, and providing financial incentives to enhance wetlands in exchange for retiring agricultural landProgram Basics swale topography with heavy clay soil. The drain- age to the Mississippi river had been blocked andThe WRP helps eligible landowners take restore, pro- water often backed up, flooding the field, resultingtect and enhance eligible wetlands. Only private land in no harvest or the inability to even plant duringand land owned by Indian tribes is eligible for partici- some wet years. The WRP agreement was to restorepation in WRP. the hydrology of 640 acres by installing small dikesThe program is administered by USDA’s Natural Re- and outlets at the swales creating shallow water ar-sources Conservation Service (NRCS) with advice eas. Planting of bottomland hardwoods along thefrom the State Technical Committees. The NRCS pro- ridges further improved the land or wildlife habitat.vides technical information about restoring wetlands A permanent easement paid the farmer a one-timeand financial assistance for conservation measures. fee of $500/acre, covered 100 percent of the resto- ration costs, and still enabled him to hold title toThere are four enrollment options: a permanent ease- the land.ment, a 30-year easement, or a restoration cost shareagreement. In addition, land owned by Indian Tribes • In the previous example, if the landowner chosemay be enrolled in a 30-year contract. Under all en- a 30-year easement, the same deed arrangementrollment options, the landowner retains ownership of would be made, but just for the 30 years rather thanthe land; remains responsible for taxes; controls access; as a permanent easement. WRP would have paid 75reserves the right to quiet enjoyment and undeveloped percent of the restoration costs and 75 percent ofhunting, fishing, and other undeveloped recreational the agricultural value of the land to the landowner.uses; and may sell or lease land enrolled in WRP. Other • A dairy farmer in northern New England had con-uses may be permitted providing NRCS determines the tinuous problems with a 30-acre hayfield within theuse is compatible with the restoration and protection of floodplain of an adjacent river. Despite extensivethe wetland, and both protects and enhances the wet- ditching and other attempts to remove the water,land functions and values. some years the land was too wet to plow. The farm-If the NRCS approves your offer for a: er opted for a permanent easement in the WRP to restore the 30 acres to wetland. He received a one-• Permanent easement, the government will provide time payment of $500/acre, the costs of ditch plug- an easement payment based on the lesser of the ap- ging were reimbursed, and he now has the multiple praised value of the land, a geographic rate cap, or benefits of a one-acre shallow pond, which been an amount offered by the landowner. The govern- made for a permanent easement, up to 75 percent ment will pay 100 percent of the restoration costs of the restoration costs and all of the administra- and the administrative costs associated with filing tive costs associated with filing the easement. For the easement (survey costs, legal fees, recording a 30-year contract no encumbrance on the land is fees, etc.). established.• 30-year easement or 30-year contract, the govern- • Restoration cost share agreement, the government ment will provide an easement payment that is 75 will provide up to 75 percent of the restoration costs percent of the amount that would have Application and Financial InformationProject Examples To participate in the WRP, visit your local NRCS of-• On the Mississippi delta floodplain in Louisiana, fice, sign an application form and select one of the three one farmer cultivated rice in a zone of ridge and enrollment options. Landowners work with NRCSBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page 103
    • personnel to draw up a preliminary Wetland Restora-tion Plan of Operations (WRPO), which describes thetypes of practices to be established, a timetable for es-tablishing practices, and the estimated costs of restora-tion. The amount of taxes to be paid on the easementarea is determined by the local taxing authority; theNRCS has no authority regarding property or other taxissues. You should seek this information before enter-ing the WRP.Eligibility, Uses, and RestrictionsTo be eligible for the program, a landowner must havea clear title and own the land for at least 7 years withsome exceptions. The land must be restorable to wet-land conditions.Eligible lands mustbe private or land owned by Indi-an Tribes, and include wetlands farmed under naturalconditions, farmed wetlands, prior converted cropland,commenced converted wetlands, farmed wetland pas-ture, or land substantially altered by flooding. Your lo-cal NRCS office can help you decide if your land iseligible. The landowner continues to control access tothe land. At any time, a landowner may request ad-ditional activities be evaluated to determine if they arecompatible uses for the site. This request may includesuch items as permission to cut hay, graze livestock orharvest wood products. Compatible uses may be al-lowed if they are fully consistent with the protectionand enhancement of the wetland.Websitehttp://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/wrp/ContactFor more information on restoring wetlands, contacta Local USDA Service Center, which can be foundthrough the NRCS website: http://www.nrcs.gov/contact.David HowardProgram Manager(202) 720-1067David.Howard@wdc.usda.govPage 104 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) Offering cost-sharing and technical assistance to improve wildlife habitatProgram Basics control of acreage develop and preserve important wildlife habitat for future generations. The programWetland Wildlife Habitat—WHIP wetlands include offers technical assistance and cost-sharing opportuni-acreage not eligible for the NRCS Wetland Reserve ties for establishing a wildlife habitat development planProgram cost-share agreements, such as winter flood- and for managing the land in accordance with that plan.ing of crop fields for waterfowl. Other wetland typesthat will be enhanced include tidal flushing areas, salt The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Servicemarshes, wetland hardwood hammocks, mangrove for- (NRCS) works with state and local partners to establishests, and wild rice beds. Created wetlands include fresh- wildlife habitat priorities in each state. NRCS will pro-water marshes and vernal pools in abandoned gravel vide cost-share payments up to 75 percent of the cost ofmines. Practices to enhance or create wetland wildlife installing wildlife habitat development practices on thehabitat include installation of culverts or water control land. Agreements are generally for a 5- to 10-year peri-structures, invasive plant control, fencing, creation of od. WHIP also provides long-term 15-year agreementsgreen tree reservoirs, moist soil unit management, and where NRCS will provide up to 100 percent of the costcreation of shallow water areas. for implementing practices that benefit rare habitats.Riparian and Insert Aquatic Wildlife Habitat—This Project Examplescategory includes riparian areas along streams, riv-ers, lakes, sloughs, and coastal areas, as well as the Each state has established several wildlife priorities, in-streams, lakes, and rivers themselves. Practices to im- cluding one or more upland and riparian habitats. Na-prove aquatic and riparian wildlife habitat include tree tionally, acres have been distributed among four majorplantings, fencing with livestock management and off- habitat types:stream watering, in-stream structures, seeding, stream • Upland Wildlife Habitat—Several types of earlybank protection and stabilization, stream deflectors, successional grasslands, such as tall grass prairies,creation of small pools, installation of buffers, removal have declined more than 98 percent, according toof dams, fencing, creation of fish passages past struc- a 1995 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Report. Onetures, alternative watering facilities, and establishment of the primary focuses of WHIP nationally is resto-of instream structures such as logs or rocks. ration of some of these now scarce areas. WildlifeThreatened and Endangered Species—Threatened dependent on native grasslands includes neotropi-and endangered species targeted through WHIP in- cal migratory birds, waterfowl, amphibians, rep-clude, but are not limited to the following: American tiles, and many mammals. Other upland prioritiesburying beetle, Neosho madtom, Topeka shiner, gray include the establishment of windbreaks and edgebat, kit fox, bog turtle, gopher tortoise, dusky-gopher around croplands, forests including pine barrensfrog, Eastern indigo snake, Southern hognose snake, and long leaf pine, wildlife corridors, and shrubblack pine snake, Louisiana black bear, red-cockaded scrub steppe habitat. Practices installed on uplandwoodpecker, Mississippi sandhill crane, Florida pan- habitat include various types of seeding and plant-ther, wood stork, snail kite, Florida sandhill crane, ings, fencing, livestock management, prescribedcaracara, grasshopper sparrow, Snake River chinook burning, and shrub thickets with shelterbelts. Yumasalmon, Umpua River cutthroat trout, coho salmon, clapper rails, Sonoran pronghorn, Mexican voles,steelhead, bulltrout, Lahontan cutthroat trout, and lesser long-nosed bats.The Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) isdesigned to help landowners and those who are inBuilding Sustainable Places Guide Page 105
    • Application and Financial Information Applications may be accepted from individuals, groups, or businesses.WHIP applications will be accepted at local USDA Ser-vice Centers or conservation district offices. They may Lands that are eligible are: Private agricultural lands;also be accepted by cooperating conservation partners Nonindustrial private forest land; Tribal lands.approved or designated by NRCS. Land is not eligible for WHIP if it is publicly ownedParticipants work with NRCS to prepare a wildlife lands (Federal, State, County, or local governmenthabitat development plan in consultation with the lo- owned lands); land enrolled in Waterbank, Emergencycal conservation district. The agreement describes the Watershed Program floodplain easements, Conserva-landowner’s goals for improving wildlife habitat, in- tion Reserve Program, Wetlands Reserve Program, orcludes a list of practices and schedule for installing other similar programs; or land where the expected im-them, and details the steps necessary to maintain the pact from off-site conditions make the success of habi-habitat for the life of the agreement. The NRCS and the tat improvement unlikely. WHIP funds cannot be usedparticipant enter into a cost-share agreement for wild- for mitigation of any kind. Such land can be includedlife habitat development. in a WHIP cost-share agreement, however cost-share funds cannot be expended on those acres.This agreement generally lasts 5 to 10 years from thedate the contract is signed. Under the agreement: Applicants create a wildlife habitat development plan for the land with assistance from the USDA or an ap-• The landowner agrees to maintain the costshared proved certified technical service provider. Participants practices and allow the NRCS or its agent access to are encouraged to select native plants and native plant monitor its effectiveness. communities because these are well adapted to the• The NRCS agrees to provide technical assistance area, less invasive, and likely to provide quality habitat and pay up to 75 percent of the cost of installing the without costly maintenance expenses. wildlife habitat practices. WHIP funds are to be directed to support state wildlifeAdditional financial or technical assistance may be habitat priorities which may include wildlife habitatavailable through cooperating partners. areas; targeted species and their habitats; specific prac- tices; and cooperative agreements with other federal,Applications will be ranked according to a state-devel- state, or local agencies, conservation districts, or pri-oped plan, and those that provide the greatest wildlife vate conservation groups. State priorities are developedbenefits will be funded. The goal is to provide the best in consultation with the State Technical Committee.habitat possible for the species of fish and wildlife that The total WHIP payment made or attributed per personthe landowner or land steward is trying to protect. Cost- or legal entity (participant) directly or indirectly mayshare payments may be used to establish, maintain, or not exceed in the aggregate $50,000 for any fiscal year.replace practices. WebsiteThe budget for WHIP is authorized at a total of $360million from 2002-2007. Funds are allocated to states http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/whip/based on wildlife conservation priorities which will Contactvary by state, and may include special pilot programsfor wildlife habitat development, targeted species and For more information, contact the NRCS through yourtheir habitats, specific practices, and cooperative agree- local USDA Service Center.ments with other federal, state, or local agencies, con-servation districts, or private conservation groups. Albert Cerna, National Program Leader National Program OfficeEligibility, Uses, and Restrictions Financial Assistance Programs Division Natural Resources Conservation ServiceTo participate in WHIP, applicants must own or have Phone: (202) 720-9358control of the land under consideration. albert.cerna@wdc.usda.govPage 106 Building Sustainable Places Guide
    • Wood Education and Resource Center (WERC) Enhancing business opportunities based on hardwood forest resource utilization, value- added processing, and wood recycling and reuseProgram Basics Catskill Woodnet: A Utilization and Marketing Program Promoting Forest Products from the NewThe USDA Forest Service’s WERC program fosters York City Watershed (05-DG-359): The New Yorkinteraction and information exchange with the forest City’s Agricultural Watershed program completed theproducts industry to enhance opportunities for sus- development of a web-based network called, Catskilltained forest products production in the eastern hard- Woodnet. This system lists local wood products busi-wood forest region of the United States (35 state). nesses and their products on the World Wide Web.Primary goals include: Catskill Woodnet will assist the Catskill wood using• Improve the knowledge, skills, and capacity of the community to expand, thereby increasing the viability workforce and management within the forest prod- of the regional wood-based economy that sustains a ucts industry. working landscape while protecting water quality. The program is similar to the “buy local, buy fresh” food• Increase communication, cooperation, and collab- campaigns already established by the Watershed Agri- orative problem solving within the forest products cultural Council. industry. Maintaining Competitiveness through Employee• Improve efficiency in forest products manufactur- Ownership in the Forest Products Industry (Award ing and wood utilization. number 07-DG-102):• Promote the sustainable utilization of woody bio- Wood Innovations, LLC, Madison, WI, recently com- mass for energy and value-added products. pleted a study and publication titled, Maintaining Com- petitiveness through Employee Ownership in the ForestThe program is administered by the Northeastern Area, Products Industry. The purpose of the document is toState and Private Forestry branch of the U. S. Forest provide information to wood products managers andService. The WERC facilities include offices, training workers on employee stock ownership plans (ESOP),facilities, and a rough mill, which are located in Princ- what are they, how they work, how to establish aneton, WV. ESOP, as well as Opportunities and Challenges withinProject Examples the ESOP structure. The publication as well as a we- binar on this topic can be viewed at: http://www.fwe.Eastern Hardwood Forest Region Woody Biomass wisc.edu/extension/esop.html.Energy Opportunity Project (06-DG-300): Sum-mit Ridge Investments, LLC, located in Marblehead, Application and Financial InformationMA, completed an analysis of woody biomass oppor- Financial assistance is provided on a competitive basis.tunities in the eastern United States. The report exam- Normally, applications are accepted beginning aroundines the woody biomass energy opportunity for the 35 December 1st through February 1st. Additional infor-states comprising the WERC service area. The report mation including application and instructions regard-provides an educational overview of the market as it ing the annual competitive grants process can be foundexists today, and offers a baseline reference resource at http://www.na.fs.fed.us/werc/grants.shtm. This grantfor advanced, targeted feasibility studies in the woody opportunity is also announced thru Grants.gov. Grantsbiomass energy arena. required a one-to-one nonfederal match.Building Sustainable Places Guide Page 107
    • Eligibility, Uses, and Restrictions for using woody biomass in heating and cooling, process energy, cogeneration, district energy sys-Organizations eligible for competitive grants include tems, and solid and liquid fuel production. Proj-nonfederal agencies; public and private agencies in- ects may also develop or maintain local marketscluding state, local and tribal governments; institutions and forest industry infrastructure by using woodyof higher education; non-profit organizations; for-profit biomass for both energy and value-added products.organizations; corporations; businesses; and others.Priorities for grants include: Website• Maintain the economic competitiveness of primary http://www.na.fs.fed.us/werc/ and secondary hardwood industries. Examples in- clude: 1.) Encouraging the adoption of new tech- http://www.na.fs.fed.us/werc/grants.shtm nology to improve competitiveness and profitabil- ity, 2.) Bringing information and technology about Contact processing, marketing, and business-related skills Steve Milauskas, Director as well as urban wood utilization to existing and USDA Forest Service, emerging businesses, and 3.) Developing utiliza- Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry tion options that improve forest stewardship and health. Wood Education and Resource Center 301 Hardwood Lane• Increase the knowledge and information about how Princeton, WV 24740 the hardwood industry can contribute to the green Phone: (304) 487-1510 extension 233 building movement. Examples include certification E-mail: smilauskas@fs.fed.us and chain of custody for sustainable wood products as well as life cycle analysis for a range of wood products.• Increase the knowledge, information, and promo- tion of how carbon sequestration by wood products can provide a competitive edge to a sustainable hardwood industry. An example includes develop- ing specific carbon storage factors for a range of wood products.• Develop technology and markets to address urgent issues on a global or domestic scale, including: 1.) Sanitizing wood packaging materials, firewood, and similar products to eliminate these pathways for the transport of insect and disease pests, and 2.) Developing markets for and using unexpected in- creases in the volume of urban and rural wood due to new pest introductions (for example emerald ash borer) and weather events such as tornados and ice storms.• Increase the sustainable use of woody biomass to meet our nation’s needs for energy and raw materi- als. Examples include public/private partnershipsPage 108 Building Sustainable Places Guide