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President Trump signs the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (HR 2), better known as the Farm Bill, authorizing numerous nutrition and rural development funding programs at the Agriculture Dept. for the next five years.
The Grantees assist rural small businesses and agricultural producers by conducting and promoting energy audits and providing renewable energy development assistance. The assistance must be provided to agricultural producers and rural small businesses. Rural small businesses must be located in eligible rural areas. This restriction does not apply to agricultural producers. Assistance provided must consist of energy audits, renewable energy technical assistance and renewable energy site assessments.
State governments will use the $15 million in funding to improve current automated information systems used to operate and manage their Child Nutrition Programs. These programs include the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, Child and Adult Care Food and Summer Food Service programs.
States use these grants to help school districts with a history of administrative error with school lunch funding. The funds will help school district staff in rectifying the situation.
These awards support traineeship programs engaging outstanding students to pursue and complete their degrees in USDA mission areas. Applications are being solicited from institutions conferring a graduate degree in at least one of the following areas: (1) animal and plant production; (2) forest resources; (3) agricultural educators and communicators; (4) agricultural management and economics; (5) food science and human nutrition; (6) sciences for agricultural biosecurity; and (7) training in integrative biosciences for sustainable food and agricultural systems.
The program supports tribal colleges and universities in delivering science-based, culturally relevant extension education programs designed to address public needs and improve quality of life. Applicants should try to focus on NIFA’s five national critical needs areas: (1) development of sustainable energy; (2) increased global food security; (3) adaptation of agriculture and natural resources to global climate change; (4) reduction of childhood and adolescent obesity; and (5) improved food safety.
The program supports training and services to establish and enhance farming and ranching opportunities for military veterans. The overarching goal of AgVets is to increase the number of military veterans gaining knowledge and skills through comprehensive, hands-on and immersive model farm and ranch programs offered regionally leading to successful careers in the food and agricultural sector.
The program supports agricultural producers and rural small businesses in reducing energy costs and consumption and helping meet the nation’s critical energy needs.
The program supports the expansion of the wood energy market and wood product market. The priorities are to: reduce hazardous fuels and improve forest health on National Forest System and other forest lands; reduce costs of forest management on all land types; and promote economic and environmental health of communities.
The program improves the quality of life in rural communities by addressing the relationship between rural prosperity and rural health and safety in the context of food, agriculture, natural resources, and human sciences.