USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

  • USDA Announces $210 Million to be Invested in Renewable Energy Infrastructure through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership

    USDA Announces $210 Million to be Invested in Renewable Energy Infrastructure through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership 21 States and Private Partners Match Federal Funds to Expand Infrastructure and Increase Fuel Options for Consumers KISSIMMEE, Fla., Oct. 28, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is partnering with 21 states through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) to nearly double the number of fueling pumps nationwide that supply renewable fuels to American motorists. In May 2015, USDA announced the availability of $100 million in grants through the BIP, and that to apply states and private partners match the federal funding by a 1:1 ratio. USDA received applications requesting over $130 million, outpacing the $100 million that is available. With the matching commitments by state and private entities, the BIP is investing a total of $210 million to strengthen the rural economy. "This major investment in renewable energy infrastructure will give Americans more options that not only will suit their pocketbooks, but also will reduce our country's environmental impact and bolster our rural economy," said Vilsack. "The Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership is one more example of how federal funds can be leveraged by state and private partners to deliver better and farther reaching outcomes for taxpayers. The volume and diverse geographic locations of partners willing to support this infrastructure demonstrate the demand across the country for lower cost, cleaner, American-made fuels. Consumers will begin to see more of these pumps in a matter of months.” The 21 states participating in the BIP include Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The amount awarded to each state is available at: www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/energy-programs/bip/index. The final awards being announced today are estimated to expand infrastructure by nearly 5,000 pumps at over 1,400 fueling stations. A typical gas pump delivers fuel with 10 percent ethanol, which limits the amount of renewable energy that consumers can purchase. The new partnership will increase the number of pumps, storage and related infrastructure that offer higher blends of ethanol, such as E15, E85, and even intermediate combination blends. USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist just released a comprehensive report on ethanol. The report, titled U.S. Ethanol: An Examination of Policy, Production, Use, Distribution, and Market Interactions, brings clarity to the complex interaction of ethanol production with agricultural markets and government policies. The corn ethanol industry is the largest biofuel producer in the country, with production increasing from about 1.6 billion gallons in 2000 to just over 14 billion gallons in 2014, stimulating economic activity in rural communities. Visit www.usda.gov/oce/reports/energy/EthanolExamination102015.pdf to read the complete report. BIP is administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency. For more information, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/energy-programs/index. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

  • USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for November 2015

    Release No. 0178.15 USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for November 2015 WASHINGTON, Nov. 2, 2015 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) today announced interest rates for November 2015. The CCC borrowing rate-based charge for November is 0.250 percent, down from 0.375 percent in October. The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during November is 1.250 percent, down from 1.375 percent in October. Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for November are as follows, 1.750 percent with seven-year loan terms, down from 1.875 percent in October; 2.125 percent with 10-year loan terms, unchanged from 2.125 percent in October and; 2.250 percent with 12-year loan terms, down from 2.375 percent in October. The interest rate for 15-year Sugar Storage Facility Loans for November is 2.375 percent, down from 2.500 percent in October. Further program information is available from USDA Farm Service Agency's (FSA) Financial Management Division at 202-772-6041. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

  • FSA County Committee Elections to Begin; Producers to Receive Ballots Week of Nov. 9

    Release No. 0182.15 FSA County Committee Elections to Begin; Producers to Receive Ballots Week of Nov. 9 Farmers and Ranchers Have a Voice in Local Farm Program Decisions WASHINGTON, Nov. 5, 2015 – Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin mailing ballots to eligible farmers and ranchers across the country for the 2015 FSA County Committee elections on Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. Producers must return ballots to their local FSA offices by Dec. 7, 2015, to ensure that their vote is counted. “County committee members represent the farmers and ranchers in their communities,” said Dolcini. “Producers elected to these committees have always played a vital role in local agricultural decisions. They are essential to the daily operation of nearly 2,200 offices across the country. It is a valued partnership that helps us better understand the needs of the farmers and ranchers we serve.” Nearly 7,700 FSA County Committee members serve FSA offices nationwide. Each committee has three to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms of office. One-third of county committee seats are up for election each year. County committee members apply their knowledge and judgment to help FSA make important decisions on its commodity support programs; conservation programs; indemnity and disaster programs; emergency programs and eligibility. Producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program to be eligible to vote in the county committee election. Approximately 1.9 million producers are currently eligible to vote. Farmers and ranchers who supervise and conduct the farming operations of an entire farm, but are not of legal voting age, also may be eligible to vote. Farmers and ranchers will begin receiving their ballots the week of Nov. 9. Ballots include the names of candidates running for the local committee election. FSA has modified the ballot, making it more easily identifiable and less likely to be overlooked. Voters who do not receive ballots in the coming week can pick one up at their local FSA office. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Dec. 7, 2015. Newly elected committee members and their alternates will take office Jan. 1, 2016. For more information, visit the FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections. You may also contact your local USDA Service Center or FSA office. Visit http://offices.usda.gov to find an FSA office near you. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

  • USDA to Provide Agricultural Credit Training, Expand Opportunities for Farmer Veterans and Beginning Farmers

    USDA to Provide Agricultural Credit Training, Expand Opportunities for Farmer Veterans and Beginning Farmers WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2015 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced a partnership with the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) to conduct agricultural credit training sessions in the Midwest for military veterans and beginning farmers and ranchers. States under consideration to host the workshops include Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Nebraska. “USDA is excited to team up with the Farmer Veteran Coalition,” said Lanon Baccam, USDA Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service Deputy Under Secretary, and Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison. “These workshops will provide individuals interested in farming as a career, including military veterans, with methods to improve business planning and financial skills, and improve understanding of the risk management tools that can help small farm operations.” Other partners include Niman Ranch a community network of more than 700 independent family farmers and ranchers, and the Farm Credit Council and the Farm Credit System, which provides loans, leases and financial services to farmers, ranchers and rural businesses across the United States. The workshops will also include assistance with credit applications and introductions to local or regional food markets. To learn more about veterans in agriculture, visit www.usda.gov/veterans. Visit www.fsa.usda.gov/farmloans or your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to learn more about FSA's farm loan programs. To find your local FSA office, visit http://offices.usda.gov. More information also is available from the Farmer Veteran Coalition at www.farmvetco.org. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

  • USDA Reminds Dairy Producers of Nov. 20 Deadline

    USDA Reminds Dairy Producers of Nov. 20 Deadline Enrollment Opportunities Ending for 2016 Margin Protection Program WASHINGTON, Nov, 9, 2015 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini today announced that almost half of all dairy farms in America have made their annual elections for 2016 coverage under the Margin Protection Program, and reminded producers who have not yet enrolled that they have until Nov. 20, to select coverage. Established by the 2014 Farm Bill, the program provides financial assistance to dairy producers when the margin – the difference between feed costs and the price of milk – falls below the coverage level selected by the applicant. “This safety net is not automatic, so producers must visit their local FSA office to enroll before Nov. 20,” said Dolcini. “Despite the best forecasts, the dairy industry is cyclical and markets can change quickly. This program is like any insurance product, where investing in a policy today will protect against catastrophic economic consequences tomorrow.” FSA estimates that based on current participation rates, had the program existed before the 2014 Farm Bill, producers in 2009 would have invested $73 million in premiums and received $1.44 billion in financial protection during that historically weak market period. Enrolled dairy operations must pay a $100 administrative fee annually to receive basic catastrophic coverage. Greater levels of margin protection are available for a higher premium, and provide expanded coverage based on historic dairy production. Once enrolled, producers can change their levels of coverage each year. Dairy producers are encouraged to review protection options online at www.fsa.usda.gov/dairy or by visiting their local FSA county office. The nearest FSA county office can be found at http://offices.usda.gov. The Margin Protection Program for dairy was reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

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  • Texas Residents: We Need Your Help To Protect Citrus from Invasive Pests 05/03/2021
    It’s amazing to think that just three counties in Texas’ Lower Rio Grande Valley produce more than 9 million cartons of fresh grapefruit and oranges each year, making it one of the United States’ top citrus areas. But it’s not easy! South Texas citrus growers face a significant challenge: a small fruit fly from Mexico […]
    USDA Latest News Releases
  • 5 Ways USDA Science Reduces Food Waste 04/28/2021
    The Economic Research Service estimates that in 2010, America wasted approximately 133 billion pounds of food. That’s the equivalent of every American discarding three average-sized apples every day. Not the “apple a day” advice we’re used to hearing. Today, on Stop Food Waste Day, we’re sharing five examples of how USDA is using scientific ingenuity […]
    USDA Latest News Releases
  • 200 Year History of the House Committee on Agriculture 04/27/2021
    For 200 years, the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture has stood for both growers and consumers in America. To commemorate the Committee's anniversary, USDA’s National Agricultural Library created a digital timeline to highlight key events, members, and legislation in the Committee's history.
    USDA Latest News Releases
  • Conservation Finance Can Mean Cleaner Air and Water and Healthier Soil 04/26/2021
    USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is the largest funder of conservation on private land in the United States, supporting producers’ transitions to beneficial farming and ranching practices. While these transitions can require an upfront cost, they also often lead to financial rewards. Healthy and resilient soils, rich with organic material, may lead to more […]
    USDA Latest News Releases
  • Inside the National Organic Program: Organic Farmer Turned USDA National Organic Program Accreditation Manager Shares Why Organic 04/22/2021
    What does organic certification really mean for a farm? In Lars Crail’s experience as a central California organic pear farmer turned NOP Accreditation Division Audit Supervisor, going organic transformed his orchard and led to a new career helping others achieve organic success.
    USDA Latest News Releases

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  • USDA: 100 Days Update 04/29/2021
    WASHINGTON, April 29, 2021 — Since January 20, 2021, the Biden-Harris Administration has been on a mission to Build Back Better. From the American Rescue Plan to the American Jobs Plan and now with the introduction of the American Families Plan, action has been taken to provide relief to the American people, and the necessary […]
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  • USDA, RESTORE Council to Invest $31 Million for Priority Restoration Work in Gulf States Impacted by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill 04/29/2021
    WASHINGTON, April 29, 2021 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced $31 million in funding to advance restoration work and improve water quality in the Gulf Coast states impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The funds will support three priority programs and related project work approved by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration […]
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  • The American Families Plan Honors America’s Family Farms 04/29/2021
    WASHINGTON, April 28, 2021 — The American Families Plan includes critical tax reform to ensure that the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes in order to finance essential investments in workers and families, including childcare, nutrition, higher education and more. One of those reforms is a change in the way capital gains are treated […]
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  • Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Mexico Supreme Court Ruling in Favor of U.S. Potato Growers 04/28/2021
    WASHINGTON, April 28, 2021 — "Mexico’s Supreme Court released a final, unanimous ruling today on a case that puts U.S. fresh potatoes one step closer to finally gaining access to Mexico following nearly 20 years of negotiations. This decision is important for American agriculture and for positive bilateral relations between the United States and Mexico. […]
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  • FACT SHEET: Update on USDA Activities to Contain the COVID-19 Pandemic 04/28/2021
    WASHINGTON, Apr. 28, 2021 — In January 2021, President Biden released the National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness. The plan is driven by science, data, and public health to improve the effectiveness of our nation’s fight against COVID-19 and to restore trust, accountability and a sense of common purpose in our response […]
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  • Texas Residents: We Need Your Help To Protect Citrus from Invasive Pests 05/03/2021
    It’s amazing to think that just three counties in Texas’ Lower Rio Grande Valley produce more than 9 million cartons of fresh grapefruit and oranges each year, making it one of the United States’ top citrus areas. But it’s not easy! South Texas citrus growers face a significant challenge: a small fruit fly from Mexico […]
    USDA Latest Blogs
  • 5 Ways USDA Science Reduces Food Waste 04/28/2021
    The Economic Research Service estimates that in 2010, America wasted approximately 133 billion pounds of food. That’s the equivalent of every American discarding three average-sized apples every day. Not the “apple a day” advice we’re used to hearing. Today, on Stop Food Waste Day, we’re sharing five examples of how USDA is using scientific ingenuity […]
    USDA Latest Blogs
  • 200 Year History of the House Committee on Agriculture 04/27/2021
    For 200 years, the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture has stood for both growers and consumers in America. To commemorate the Committee's anniversary, USDA’s National Agricultural Library created a digital timeline to highlight key events, members, and legislation in the Committee's history.
    USDA Latest Blogs
  • Conservation Finance Can Mean Cleaner Air and Water and Healthier Soil 04/26/2021
    USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is the largest funder of conservation on private land in the United States, supporting producers’ transitions to beneficial farming and ranching practices. While these transitions can require an upfront cost, they also often lead to financial rewards. Healthy and resilient soils, rich with organic material, may lead to more […]
    USDA Latest Blogs
  • Inside the National Organic Program: Organic Farmer Turned USDA National Organic Program Accreditation Manager Shares Why Organic 04/22/2021
    What does organic certification really mean for a farm? In Lars Crail’s experience as a central California organic pear farmer turned NOP Accreditation Division Audit Supervisor, going organic transformed his orchard and led to a new career helping others achieve organic success.
    USDA Latest Blogs