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AnnouncementMay 2, 2016

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is pleased to share information and resources from other agencies within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that support organic producers.

Rural Development

Grants to Help You Increase the Value of Your Products 

USDA is making up to $44 million available to farmers, ranchers and businesses to develop new bio-based products and expand markets through the Value-Added Producer Grant program.
Maximum Grant Amount: $75,000 for planning grants; $250,000 for working capital grants
Matching Funds Requirements: 50% of total project costs
The Value Added Producer Grant program helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of bio-based, value-added products. Generating new products, creating and expanding marketing opportunities, and increasing producer income are the goals of this program.
More information on how to apply is in April 8 issue of the Federal Register. The deadline to submit paper applications is July 1, 2016. Electronic applications submitted through are due June 24, 2016. Additional information and assistance is available through the USDA Rural Development Office serving your county. 
Interested producers are also invited to participate in conference call
When:                         May 6
Time:                          2:00 - 3:30 EST
ID/Passcode:             9268341
Participants will need to use their computer's audio and the "Chat" feature instead of phone lines.

National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Clearinghouse to Help You Start and Advance Yor Agricultural Business 

A USDA blog posted last week highlights, an information clearinghouse supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which helps beginning farmers and ranchers find programs, services and other resources to start and advance their agricultural businesses.
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Webinar on the NRCS National Organic Farming Handbook
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), in partnership with Oregon Tilth, is hosting a webinar entitled "Introducing the NRCS National Organic Farming Handbook."
The webinar, which will take place on May 26 from 3:00 - 4:00 (EST), will be hosted by Lindsay Haines, Organic Program Specialist, NRCS, and Ben Bowell, Organic Education Specialist, Oregon Tilth.
The new Organic Farming Handbook was developed by USDA NRCS staff and partners to support NRCS field staff and conservation professionals working with organic producers and those transitioning to organic. The webinar will explore the handbook, including a description of organic farming principles and relevant USDA organic regulations. The presentation will describe considerations and resources for planning conservation practices on organic operations such as cover crops, nutrient management, crop rotations, and livestock management.
Pre-registration is not required for this webinar session.  Learn more and join the webinar.
About the Agricultural Marketing Service
USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) facilitates the competitive and efficient marketing of agricultural products. Through its National Organic Program, AMS facilitates trade and ensures the integrity of organic agricultural products by consistently implementing organic standards and enforcing compliance with the regulations throughout the world.
To learn more, view Frequently Accessed Information at:
About the USDA Organic Insider

The USDA Organic Insider informs the organic community on a wide range of functions, including regulatory updates, requests for public comments, and USDA programs and services.

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