Last week Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled the http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/knowyourfarmer?navid=kyf-urban-agric">USDA Urban Agriculture Toolkit, a new resource created by USDA's Know Your Farmer team to help entrepreneurs and community leaders successfully create jobs and increase access to healthy food through urban agriculture. From neighborhood gardens grown on repurposed lots, to innovative mobile markets and intensive hydroponic and aquaculture operations, urban food production is rapidly growing into a mature business sector in cities across the country. USDA's Toolkit is an electronic document that helps urban and small farms navigate more than 70 helpful resources, including technical assistance and financing opportunities. It focuses on some of the most pressing challenges confronting urban producers such as land access, soil quality, water resources, capital and financing, infrastructure, market development, production strategies, and applying for federal, state or private foundation grants. University extension service partners in Chicago and Indianapolis helped develop cost estimates for starting urban farms and the toolkit includes information on best practices and check lists for start-ups and early-stage producers planning outdoor or indoor operations.
A bill to reauthorize the successful State Small Business Credit Initiative and to allow participating States to provide program funds to small businesses for development of affordable housing was introduced and referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.
Dan McRae's infographic sorts out allocation, credits, sheltered income and unsheltered income, and trace the actual funding from New Market Tax Credits.
LGBTQ Healthcare: Building Inclusive Rural Practices
by Zachary Toliver
Like all rural residents, LGBTQ individuals need access to quality healthcare from an engaged provider. But sometimes, providers lack the specific training and cultural know-how to address the healthcare needs of LGBTQ patients. This article discusses the barriers rural LGBTQ people face and what providers can do to ensure quality care.
In 2012, two entrepreneurs came up with a novel way to open up public finance to small investors: create an online marketplace allowing people to invest smaller-than-usual amounts of money in municipal bonds backing specific civic projects.
This guide from the U.S. EPA provides guidance and technical assistance to localities and brownfields practitioners on leveraging resources for brownfields revitalization. This guide explores how communities can prepare to successfully leverage funding and other resources for brownfields revitalization.
The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy held a hearing about the EPA Brownfields Program, including what about it currently works well, what could be improved, and how the program helps communities handle issues like environmental liability concerns, financial barriers, cleanup considerations, and reuse planning.
A recent ERS report finds that, despite the fact that WIC benefits are not structured to encourage participants to consider price when they acquire their WIC foods, 76 percent of WIC retail redemptions in fiscal 2012 were at large lower price stores, such as supermarkets, supercenters, and large grocery stores. Another 9 percent of benefits were redeemed at WIC-only and A-50 stores (those that derive more than 50 percent of annual food-sales revenue from WIC redemptions).
Data on direct-to-consumer (DTC) food sales were first collected in the 1978 Census of Agriculture, and DTC sales data have been collected in every agricultural census thereafter (except in 1987). In 1992, the number of DTC farms fell to the lowest level since information collection on DTC farms began; since that time, the number has slowly and steadily increased, peaking in 2012. The constant-dollar value of DTC sales increased as well, before declining slightly in 2012. Two factors may have contributed to the lack of growth in DTC sales over 2007-12. First, consumer demand for local food purchased through DTC outlets may have plateaued. Second, where local food systems have been thriving, farmers may have been able to direct more of their sales to “intermediated” outlets, such as local restaurants and retailers, institutions, and local aggregators. ERS research finds that the number of farms marketing through intermediated channels increased by 34 percent from 36,000 in 2008 to 48,300 in 2012
Business Leader Conference Call with President Barack Obama | Friday, May 6 | 2:00 p.m. ET / 11:00 a.m. PT
To cap off National Small Business Week, President Obama and senior Administration officials will join Business Forward’s nationwide network of business leaders to discuss the role of small business in growing the American economy. The discussion will focus on key economic initiatives, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In addition to hearing from the President, business leaders from across the country will have the opportunity to ask questions of Administration officials about how various economic policies affect their companies, employees, and local economies. http://action.businessfwd.org/page/s/obama-call">>>REGISTER NOW (Space is limited)
RD Apply Webinar | May 18th from 2:00 to 3:30 pm EDT
The USDA Telecommunications Program will host a webinar focused on our new application intake system, RD Apply. This new system allows interested parties to apply electronically for loans and grants administered by the Rural Utilities Service (RUS). Apply with ease for the latest RUS Farm Bill Broadband Loan Program and Infrastructure Program loans through RD Apply. Eventually, more programs will be added into the system, allowing a wider range of customers to submit applications electronically. Due to the limited amount of room available, you must register with the RUS Policy & Outreach Division to attend. Please pre-register at https://www.livemeeting.com/register. Register soon to ensure your spot in the session. If the above registration link does not work, please copy and paste the following link you’re your browser: https://www.livemeeting.com/lrs/8002989786/Registration.aspx?pageName=746cbz7gc5dnb4nf.
Requirements for Committing HOME Funds Webinar - May 10, 2016 - 2:00 PM EDT
HUD's Office of Affordable Housing Programs (OAHP) is pleased to announce a webinar on the HOME requirements contained in Notice CPD-15-09 Requirements for Committing HOME Funds on May 10, 2016, from 2:00 PM EDT until 4:00 PM EDT. This webinar will describe what Participating Jurisdictions must do in order to meet the HOME requirements for committing funds to specific local projects and to programs undertaken by State recipients and subrecipients. It will explain the requirements contained in the definition of “commitment” (at 24 CFR 92.2) and the underwriting, subsidy layering, and project assessment requirements (at 24 CFR 92.250(b)), all of which must be met prior to the commitment of HOME funds.
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