Pennsylvania Women's Agricultural Network Newsletter

News for women farmers empowering each other through networking

Feb 19, 2020


Spotlight

Notes from the 2019 PA-WAgN Symposium

Held for the first time ever in Philadelphia, PA the 2019 PA-WAgN symposium was a huge success. There were more than 200 women farmers, growers, and food advocates in attendance making the 2019 symposium our largest yet.  We had diverse representation from rural and urban audiences and across the food systems sector, also making this year’s symposium our most diverse to date.  With more than 30 presenters, 10 workshops, lightning talks and dynamic presentations, this year’s symposium was certainly one for the books! [more]

In This Issue

  1. Upcoming Conferences & Workshops
  2. Understanding the SNAP Time Limit
  3. $192 Million in Food and Agriculture Funding Now Available
  4. NSAC's Guide to the Value Added Producer Grant Program
  5. Upcoming Deadline to Sign Up for Conservation Reserve Program
  6. UN Declares 2020 Year of Plant Health
  7. From NSAC's Blog: EQIP INTERIM FINAL RULE FALLS SHORT ON SUSTAINABILITY
  8. Pennsylvania Enacts Purple Paint Law to Authorize Alternate Method of Providing Trespassing Notice

1. Upcoming Conferences & Workshops

From the PA-Veteran Farming Conference to the Farmers Market Managers Conference, there are a bunch of exciting and informative programs on the horizon that can benefit women farmers in Pennsylvania. [more]


2. Understanding the SNAP Time Limit

The Trump administration has changed a SNAP rule. Starting April 1, 2020, it will now affect adults without minor children, also called Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWDS), in nearly all of Pennsylvania. [more]


3. $192 Million in Food and Agriculture Funding Now Available

The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) is the largest federal agricultural research competitive grant program... The purpose of AFRI’s “Foundational” program is to invest in research, education, and extension projects that support more sustainable, productive, and economically viable agricultural systems. Specifically, the program’s focus is to drive innovation to improve farm efficiency, sustainability, rural communities, human nutrition, as well as mitigating food waste and advancing classical breeding. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) estimates $192.6 million will be available in FY 2020 for the foundational and applied science program. [more]


4. NSAC's Guide to the Value Added Producer Grant Program

Washington, DC, January 15, 2020 – In conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recent announcement of at least $37 million in available grant support via the Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) Program, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has released a newly updated version of its Farmers’ Guide to Applying for the Value Added Producer Grant Program (The Guide). NSAC’s newly updated guide includes everything interested producers need to know about VAPG to determine if the program is a good fit for their operation, as well as details on changes made in the 2018 Farm Bill, and helpful tips to improve a producer’s chances of obtaining funding from this highly competitive program. [more]


5. Upcoming Deadline to Sign Up for Conservation Reserve Program

(From USDA): WASHINGTON, D.C., January 28, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds agricultural producers interested in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) 2020 general signup to enroll by February 28, 2020. This signup is available to farmers and private landowners who are either enrolling for the first time or re-enrolling for another 10- to 15-year term. “This is the first opportunity for general sign up since 2016, and we want producers and private landowners to know that we have just one month remaining,” FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said. “It is critical that they make their final determinations and submit offers very soon to take advantage of this popular conservation program.” Farmers and ranchers who enroll in CRP receive yearly rental payments for voluntarily establishing long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees (known as “covers”), which can control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat on marginally productive agricultural lands. [more]


6. UN Declares 2020 Year of Plant Health

(From USDA): WASHINGTON, D.C., January 27, 2020 – Plants make the oxygen we breathe and give us 80 percent of the food we eat. But plants are under attack by invasive pests. These pests destroy up to 40 percent of the world’s food crops and cause $220 billion in trade losses each year according to the United Nations (U.N.). That leaves millions of people worldwide without enough food to eat and seriously damages agriculture—the primary source of income for rural communities. To bring worldwide attention to this challenge, the U.N. has declared 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health. They are calling on people, organizations, industries, scientists, and governments to work together to protect plants against the introduction and spread of invasive pests. The U.S. National Plant Protection Organization—the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Plant Protection and Quarantine—is leading the effort in the United States. [more]


7. From NSAC's Blog: EQIP INTERIM FINAL RULE FALLS SHORT ON SUSTAINABILITY

Every five years (or so), a new farm bill is passed which makes important changes to federal farm and food programs. The 2018 Farm Bill, passed in late December 2018, was no exception. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) was one of many programs to receive updates in the farm bill, and now those policy changes are being interpreted by USDA through the farm bill implementation and rulemaking processes. In December 2019, USDA announced its Interim Final Rule (IFR) for EQIP. The IFR guides USDA’s implementation of farm bill changes to EQIP, including the addition of soil health planning to the list of activities eligible for assistance, and the creation of a category of EQIP Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) for soil health. Unfortunately, with the exception of a few improvements, USDA’s IFR ignores or sells short several key aspects of the program. [more]


8. Pennsylvania Enacts Purple Paint Law to Authorize Alternate Method of Providing Trespassing Notice

News in rural landowner rights: On November 27, 2019, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed into law House Bill 1772, now known as Act 103 of 2019, which allows for the use of vertical purple lines painted on trees or posts to provide notice against trespassing under the Pennsylvania Crimes Code. The purple paint lines must be within 100 feet from each other, must be at least eight inches long and one inch wide, must be placed between three and five feet off the ground, and must be readily visible to persons approaching the property. [more]


About PA-WAgN

The Pennsylvania Women's Agricultural Network (PA-WAgN) supports women in agriculture by providing positive learning environments, networking, and empowerment opportunities.

More Information

Address

302 Armsby Building
University Park, PA 16802

Email

pawagn@psu.edu