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 2022 Rhode Island Farm Scavenger Hunt

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The 2022 RI Farm Scavenger Hunt fliers have arrived! We appreciate everyone’s patience as we transitioned the Rhode Island Farm Scavenger Hunt over from the RI Fruit Growers.  Click either picture above for more details.


USDA Offers Disaster Assistance to Rhode Island Farmers and Livestock Producers Impacted by Drought

WARWICK, R.I., August 11, 2022 –Agricultural operations in Rhode Island are experiencing severe and worsening drought conditions. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has technical and financial assistance available to help farmers and livestock producers recover from these devastating natural disasters. Impacted producers should contact their local USDA Service Center to report losses and learn more about program options available to assist in their recovery from crop, land, infrastructure and livestock losses and damages.  For the full article please go to: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/state-offices/Rhode-Island/news-releases/2022/USDA-Offers-Disaster-Assistance-to-Rhode-Island-Farmers-and-Livestock-Producers-Impacted-by-Drought?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery


Spotted Lanternfly Detected in Rhode Island in August

It looks so pretty, but it’s actually the very damaging Spotted lanternfly adult (left) and fourth instar nymph (right). Photo credit: USDA APHIS.

The spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is an invasive planthopper currently spreading through the Mid-Atlantic and Eastern US. The spotted lanternfly was recently detected in Smithfield, Rhode Island. Potential spread of this insect threatens our region’s grape, tree fruit, hardwood, and green industries. Please click the photo above to go to the URI Dept. of Plant Sciences and Entomology Spotted Lanternfly page for more information.

DEM said if you come across a suspected spotted lanternfly, especially in the North Providence, Smithfield and Lincoln area, they ask you to take a photo , kill the insect, collect a specimen and report it on their designated form.


Mini Improvements Grant to Aid RI Farms

Specialty Crop Block Grant Program – Mini Grant Program

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management – Division of Agriculture (RIDEM) is pleased to announce the availability of up to $275,000 of funding in grant opportunities to assist eligible Rhode Island farmers and food businesses.

RIDEM will offer and provide a mini grant program for eligible expenses related to COVID-19 that benefit the production and distribution of Rhode Island specialty crops, which include fruits, vegetables, nuts, horticulture and floriculture. Throughout the pandemic three areas have impacted Rhode Island Specialty crop production and marketing – Food Safety, Digital Marketing and direct COVID-19 expenses.

RIDEM will award mini grants from $2,500- $10,000 for projects enhancing the competitiveness of Rhode Island specialty crops. In response to the Novel Coronavirus pandemic, the USDA Office of Management and Budget has provided flexibilities to grant applicants and grant recipients. This additional funding has been allotted to states to assist farms with the impacts of COVID-19. Funds must still meet the requirements of SCBGP, but there is an emphasis on projects that COVID-19 assistance/ relief.

Mini grants must fit within one of the three funding Areas:

  • Covid related expense relief; A portion of this funding will be used to assist businesses, organizations and individuals with eligible expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Produce Safety; This grant can help defray the costs of implementing on-farm food safety practices to help growers transition to compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule and/or meet market demands for on-farm food safety. This can include improvements to irrigation systems that mitigate risk associated with agricultural water use in lieu of current drought conditions.
  • Digital Media; This grant can provide funding for modernization and access to digital media for eligible entities. These are meant to increase/improve market access
Applications will be accepted from August 1, 2022 – December 31, 2022 at 11:59 PM.
 

Apply HERE


Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

Through July 13, USDA has announced more than 1,826 detections in wild birds across 37 states, and detections in 186 commercial and 200 backyard flocks across 37 states as of July 13, with a total of 40 million birds affected (number of birds on confirmed affected premises).   For up-to-date information, please visit the USDA APHIS site: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/animal-disease-information/avian/avian-influenza/hpai-2022.

For some very detailed information about this outbreak, particularly vs the 2014/15 HPAI Outbreak, visit AFBF’s Market Intel “Breaking Down the HPAI Outbreak”

The following February 22 update is from Dr. Scott Marshall, RI State Veterinarian.

State and federal animal health officials are monitoring for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). HPAI is a virus that is relatively common in wild waterfowl and is well-adapted in that population in that it rarely causes disease. However, when domestic poultry are infected with HPAI it can result in mortality rates approaching 100%. HPAI has been detected in hunter harvested wild waterfowl along the East Coast from Canada to FL. Canada had experienced some infections of domestic poultry but the USA did not until about 2 weeks ago when a turkey farm in Indiana was diagnosed. Since then there have been an additional 3 commercial poultry farms in IN, 2 commercial farms in KY, and backyard farms in VA, NY, and ME. The findings in NY and ME came in over the weekend with the NY finding being fairly close to RI on Long Island.

I have been the State Veterinarian for 15 years and we have always prepared for HPAI. In my tenure there has been one major HPAI outbreak (2015-2016) primarily in the upper Midwest and one relatively small one in 2022 in the Southern USA. Those were quite distant from RI and the monitoring of wild birds for HPAI with those outbreaks didn’t show that we were high risk. This is different because of the proximity of HPAI detections in both wild and domestic birds in the Northeast. If there is a silver lining with this virus it appears that it is not a threat to public health. Public health officials have long predicted that the “next great pandemic” would be an influenza virus, probably avian origin. Well, we all know how that went 2+ years into COVID. That said, CDC and USDA are monitoring the virus for any characteristics that would make it likely to infect people, and thus far they are not seeing any.

The purpose of this email is really twofold. First is for your situational awareness as agriculture partners and stakeholders. Second is that you personally, or your organizations, may provide services to poultry farms. Therefore I ask that you please review this site for important information on the current HPAI outbreak, and also for information on biosecurity. The biosecurity information includes practices that you all should be taking so that you don’t spread HPAI if you visit poultry farms, and also information you can pass onto your customer/client so they can protect their poultry assets.  USDA Defend the Flock Program 

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Scott N. Marshall, DVM
Deputy Chief / RI State Veterinarian
Division of Agriculture and Forest Environment
Tel: (401) 222- 2781 Ext 2774503

Scott.Marshall@dem.ri.gov

Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade Street | Room 370 | Providence, RI 02908

The virus is spread primarily through fecal droppings and respiratory droplets and can contaminate feed or water sources that wild birds have access to.

RI DEM asks that you contact the State Veterinarian, Scott Marshall, DVM, if your flock is having any illness or mortality event. You can reach him via email at scott.marshall@dem.ri.gov or by calling 401-222-2781 X2774503. 


Latest Farm Service Agency Updates

6/21/22 Updates from Leila Naylor, Administrative Specialist, USDA-FSA RI State Office:
 

Agency News

 

HOLLIS, NEW HAMPSHIRE, JUNE 17, 2022— Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plans to provide up to $200 million in assistance for specialty crop producers who incur eligible on-farm food safety program expenses to obtain or renew a food safety certification in calendar years 2022 or 2023. USDA’s new Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops (FSCSC) program will help to offset costs for specialty crop producers to comply with regulatory requirements and market-driven food safety certification requirements, which is part of USDA’s broader effort to transform the food system to create a more level playing field for small and medium producers and a more balanced, equitable economy for everyone working in food and agriculture. 

 

Gear Up for the 2022 Hurricane Season

Hurricane season is officially underway, and it lasts until November 30. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts that the 2022 hurricane season will be above normal in the Atlantic and produce 14 to 21 named storms with six to 10 hurricanes and three to six major hurricanes. Additionally, NOAA predicts that the eastern Pacific hurricane season will produce 10 to 17 named storms, with four to eight hurricanes and zero to three major hurricanes.

USDA is encouraging producers take precautions to prepare and protect their family and agricultural operations. In an effort to further amplify disaster preparedness for hurricanes and tropical storms, below are the following resources that I encourage you to share with our farmers;

In addition, I have attached a handy Disaster Assistance Postcard for your use and distribution as you see fit. 

Upcoming FSA Program Signup Deadlines

  • Acreage Reporting Deadlines

o   September 30th,  Value Loss Crops such as Aquaculture, Oysters, Floriculture, Turf grass sod, Christmas Trees, Floriculture (except Chrysanthemums) Mushrooms, Ginseng

o   January 2nd, Honey (beehive colonies)and Maple Sap

January 15th, Apples Cranberries, Grapes and Peaches

 

o   September 30th Value Loss Crops; Aquaculture, Oysters, Turf Grass, Christmas trees, Floriculture (except Chrysanthemums)Mushrooms, Ginseng

o   November 20th Perennial Crops, Grass, Mixed Forage, Alfalfa, Perennial Forage

o   December 31st Specialty Type Crops; Honey, Maple sap

 

    • November 20th, Apples, Cranberries, Grapes and Peaches

 

  • This year the following Counties are up for election in Rhode Island;

o   Kent County LAA #2

o   Newport County LAA # 4

o   Bristol County LAA # 5

For more information, contact the RI FSA County Office at 401-828-3120 Option 2. For COC Election information including fact sheets and nomination forms visit County Committee Elections (usda.gov)

Rhode Island FSA Office Is Hiring

Rhode Island Farm Service Agency (FSA) office in Warwick is hiring a full time, temporary Program Technician (PT). 

Duties include general office activities supporting FSA programs administered at the field level. Successful applicants must be reliable, have a professional attitude and enjoy working with the public.

If you are interested or know of someone who might be interested, please share this information with them and contact Sheryl Michener to apply Sheryl.michener@usda.gov or call our RI FSA County Office at 401-828-3120 Option 2.

For more information regarding the latest FSA news and programs, please visit farmers.gov.  Feel free to reach out to me or contact the Rhode Island Farm Service Agency County Office located at 60 Quaker Lane Suite 49, Warwick RI at 401-828-3120 Option 2.  For Farm Loan questions, please contact our Farm Loan team at 401-828-3120 Option 3.


GAP Certified Producers

Along with implementing food safety practices, farms covered by the Produce Safety Rule and/or involved with the RI GAP program (Good Agricultural Practices) will need to keep some records. Visit URI’s new webpage [uri.edu] to access free templates designed to assist Rhode Island produce growers with record requirements and/or for farms wanting to make food safety a priority.


RI GAP Certification

Thinking of becoming a RI GAP Certified Grower?
Want to learn more about Produce Safety in Rhode Island?
The first step is to take the RI GAP/Produce Safety Rule Grower Training.  


Sign-up for the RI GAP/PSR training waitlist by clicking this link and you will be notified once dates become available!


RI Produce Farm Registration

Do you grow, harvest, pack or hold produce?
 
Have you registered your produce farm for 2022?
 
All Produce Farms in Rhode Island are now required to register annually with the RIDEM Division of Agriculture.
 
If you grow, harvest, pack or hold produce for sale in Rhode Island you must register with the Division of Agriculture – Produce Safety Program on an annual basis.
 
Registration can be completed easily on the DEM website.
 
You may also register by mail by completing the Produce Farm Registration Form.
 
If you have questions, please contact Ananda Fraser – ananda.fraser@dem.ri.gov

RI Department of Labor and Training Migrant and Seasonal Farm Worker Program

We recognize the vital role that farming plays in all our lives. The Rhode Island Department of Labor & Training provides a full range of employment services for the employment needs of all individuals who are employed or were previously employed in farm work of a seasonal nature. The Migrant & Seasonal Farm Workers Program (MSFW) funded by the US Department of Labor, offers a wide variety of services and benefits to assist the individuals that meet these requirements.

Resources for Eligible Participants:

•Employment counseling through local netWORKri Career Centers
•Training grants for qualifying individuals
•Resume development and critique
•Free job search and resume posting through EmployRI
•Education assistance such as GED, literacy programs and tuition assistance for qualifying individuals
•Access to job search tools such as computers, phones and fax machines at no cost

These are just a few of the programs and services available at no cost for qualified individuals. For more information, please check out the following links:

•Job search/job posting database – https:/ /www.employri.org/vosnet/Default.aspx
•Employer programs and incentives – https:/ /gwb.ri.gov/programs-and-incentives
•netWORKri Career Centers – http:/ /dlt.ri.gov/onestop
Contact Jennifer Dalomba at Jennifer.Dalomba@dlt.ri.gov for questions on how to assist your clients or students with enrolling in the Migrant & Seasonal Farm Workers program. (MSFW)

Please see the printable flyers below:

RI Flyer for MSFW

RI Flyer for MSFW (Spanish)


Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center 

The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center has several new Grant opportunities available. 

Click this link to go to our Grants page to view them.


Storm Damage?

For the most complete and  up-to-date disaster information on our website, go to our Emergency Resources page.

USDA DISASTER RECOVERY ASSISTANCE PAGE

(Click Link Above)

Drought Help for Farmers

Please read this Drought Letter to Farmers from RI Division of Agriculture Chief, Ken Ayars

RI DEM:    Pond maintenance such as dredging out accumulated sediment is generally an exempt activity not requiring a permit and may be an important response to drought conditions.  The exemption pertains to farmers who meet the definition in the wetlands act and must be done in accordance with good management practices. 

Please contact Howard Cook of the Division of Agriculture at howard.cook@dem.ri.gov  or (401) 222-2781, Ext. 4504.


 

GOAT & SHEEP DAIRY SUPPLY CHAIN GRANT

Grant Overview

 
The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC) has expanded eligibility and extended the deadline for the Goat and Sheep Dairy Supply Chain Grant program, which will provide grants for Northeast region dairy farmers, processors, and/or producer associations to improve the goat and/or sheep dairy supply chain. The Northeast region includes Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
 
For more details click the link above or go to https://rifb.org/grants/.
 

Reminder for farmers about sales tax obligations

Those who make retail sales of taxable items must collect and remit tax

We received this notice from the Rhode Island Department of Revenue Division of Taxation in early June.  It is a reminder that farms that make retail sales of taxable items must collect and remit Rhode Island sales tax on those items.

Please see the linked notice here.


Little Compton Farmland Lease Available

Objective:

The Little Compton Agricultural Conservancy Trust (LCACT) seeks farmers interested in farming in a Southern New England coastal farm community located 45 minutes from Providence and 75 minutes from Boston. 

LCACT welcomes farm lease proposals from candidates with:
· 3yrs or more years of farming experience
· Solid farming references
· A plan to develop an agricultural enterprise intended to gross approximately $50,000 per year within 5yrs of start-up
· Financial resources (or access to financing) for start-up costs.

Click HERE for more details.


SBA EIDL Loans Have Been Fraudulently
Taken out in Others’ Names

The RI Farm Bureau has had a number of farms reach out to let us know that SBA (Small Business Administration) Economic Injury Disaster Loans have been taken out, fraudulently, in their farm’s name. Fraudulent loans have ranged from $17,600 to $150,000.

Many farms and small businesses have taken out legitimate loans. The loan search in the below Target 12 segment and article does NOT distinguish between legitimate and fraudulent loans. It is simply a tool for you to see if any loans were taken out for your address. Only the amount and street address are listed. Find the address box near the middle of the linked WPRI 12 article below.

Have you had a fraudulent loan taken out in your farm’s name?

If so, please contact us at rifarm@rifb.org so that we can keep track of affected farms.

The SBA has provided the following information to assist
those who have been victims of SBA Fraud.

SBA COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Identity Theft Letter

For SBA to commence with the process to release the loan debt as expeditiously as possible, they require the following documents noted in the above linked letter.  The information may be emailed or faxed using the information in the letter :

1. A copy of an Identity Theft Report filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at IdentityTheft.gov, or filed with another federal law enforcement agency or your local police department.

2. A copy of your photo identification issued by a Federal or state agency. Examples are a Driver’s License, state ID card, U.S. Passport, or military ID.

3. A completed and signed Declaration of Identity Theft (below).

United States Small Business Administration Declaration of Identity Theft

In addition, we recommend that you:

1) Go to one of the three credit reporting agencies:

EQUIFAX, www.equifax.com, 1-888-766-0008
EXPERIAN, www.experian.com, 1-888-397-3742
TRANS UNION, www.transunion.com, 1-800-680-7289

-Put a fraud alert on your credit and freeze your credit report. You only need to do this with one agency. They are required to share it with the other two.

-You can review your credit report. Make note of any account or transaction you don’t recognize.

2) Keep copies of any emails or mailings you receive regarding this or any other loan, even if you did not apply for one.

3) Contact RI Farm Bureau at rifarm@rifb.org or call us at 401-385-3339 if you have any questions or want to have us add you to the list. Please watch for additional emails, information on the website, or on our Facebook page regarding this.

WPRI Target 12 Fake Farms and SBA Loan Fraud

Target 12 extrapolated a list of every Rhode Island borrower that supposedly participated in the program after the agency was legally compelled to release the information earlier this month. The data shows nearly $562 million was approved for at least 10,000 borrowers with Rhode Island addresses. That’s equivalent to more than 10% of the state’s small businesses, or outfits with fewer than 500 employees, as defined by the SBA. (The list doesn’t include the thousands of loans made through the bridge-loan program known as “Economic Injury Disaster Loans Advance,” which were capped at $10,000 each.)

See the updated, January 12, 2021 article below.
 

Sen. Jack Reed to call on the federal agency to investigate claims

__________________________________


Unemployment Fraud

In addition to the above noted SBA Fraud, fraudulent UI claims have been made in many people’s name, including here at RIFB.  If you did not file an unemployment claim, but received notice that one was filed in your name, report it to the RI State Police using this link.  You may also Google RI DLT to access the link through the actual Unemployment site.

The following is a form distributed by RI DLT to help guide those who have been affected in protecting their credit and identity. 

DLT Action Steps UI Fraud

RI Produce Safety Improvement Grants
Application Open!

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management – Division of Agriculture (RIDEM) is pleased to announce the availability of up to $35,000 of funding in grant opportunities to assist eligible Rhode Island farmers and food businesses with projects that have goals to improve quality, efficiency, and food safety.

Rhode Island Produce Safety Improvement Grants help Rhode Island produce growers implement on-farm food safety practices, transition to compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, and meet market demands for on-farm food safety.  Please go to RI Produce Safety Improvement Grants for details of eligibility and how to apply!


 
The  USDA Farmers Guide to Farm Bill programs contains comprehensive information about all NRCS, FSA and RMA programs.  Click the picture below for details or call any of the offices below for program information.
 
Rhode Island USDA FSA County Office can be reached at 401-828-1320 Option 2https://www.fsa.usda.gov/state-offices/Rhode-Island/index

 

Rhode Island NRCS can be reached at 401-828-1300.  https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/site/ri/home/
 
Risk Management Agency can be reached at 919-875-4880.  They provide crop insurance.  https://www.rma.usda.gov/en/RMALocal/Rhode-Island

 

DOT Extends Modified National Emergency Declaration for Commercial Vehicles

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended their modified expanded national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief in response to the nationwide coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.  The notice extends the exemption through February 28, 2021.

The Emergency Declaration has been in effect since March 18 and grants relief to motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in support of relief efforts related to the COVID-19 public health emergency from Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, such as hours-of-service rules.

The extension of Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 provides regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to COVID-19 and is limited to transportation of the following freights:

(1) livestock and livestock feed;

(2) medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19;

(3) vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of COVID-19;

(4) supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants; and

(5) food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.


FMCSA Extends Waiver in Response to the
COVID-19 Emergency –

For States, CDL Holders, CLP Holders, and Interstate Drivers Operating Commercial Motor Vehicles

FMCSA has extended, until September 30, 2020, a waiver from certain regulations applicable to interstate and intrastate commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders and to other interstate drivers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). The Agency has initiated this action in response to the President’s declaration of a national emergency under 42 U.S.C. § 5191(b) related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).


CFAP Webinars for Ag Producers 

Webinar Dates & Topics:

These FSA Webinars are all completed.  Archived webinars may be found at the above link as well as here.


Rhode Island Farmers: Become an
authorized SNAP retailer

Rhode Island farmers: you can open a new market for your business while helping your less fortunate neighbors during the COVID-19 crisis. Learn how to apply to be an authorized retailer to accept SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — formerly Food Stamp Program) benefits. This will allow you to accept SNAP benefits at your retail farm stand, CSA, and through home delivery. Click here for the Guidebook.


RIFB Farms and products available list for Web


Creating List of Farms/Farmstands to Share with Public

With stores offering limited grocery items, we are seeing an uptick in requests for where to buy farm products.
 
We are compiling a list of our member farms that are open for sales to the public at this time. If you would like to be included on this list, please click the link above for more info.

Farm Credit East Resource Hub

Providing information relevant to Northeast Ag and customers of Farm Credit East.  Includes information regarding the Paycheck Protection Plan, CARES Act basics, tax planning , payroll, webinars and reports on COVID-19.


Soil Nutrient Analysis

It’s planting season and with that comes the question: Where can I get my soil tested.  At this time we recommend Midwest Labs in Kansas.


 

The Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula)

The spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is an invasive planthopper currently spreading through the Mid-Atlantic and Eastern US. Although the spotted lanternfly is not currently found in Rhode Island, but has been seen in Western Connecticut. Potential spread of this insect threatens our region’s grape, tree fruit, hardwood, and green industries. Please click the photo above to go to the URI Dept. of Plant Sciences and Entomology Spotted Lanternfly page for more information.

Free Soil Testing for Landowners!

RI State Conservation Committee (RISCC) has a soil health agreement with NRCS by which they do free soil testing for landowners. The program is absolutely free, and after the results are back, the appropriate conservation district will work with the landowner on programs he/she may want to implement based on results. Please see the attachment below for more information.

HOW CAN MY FARM’S SOIL HEALTH BE EVALUATED?

Have a Comprehensive Soil Health Assessment conducted on your cropland, hayland or pasture. This Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) for enhancing Soil Health provides access to Cornell University’s Comprehensive Assessment of Soil Health when you apply for technical assistance. The Conservation District Soil Health staff will collect soil samples fr m your property, send the samples to Cornell Soil Health Testing Lab and interpret those results in a Soil Health Management Plan.

Soil Health Program Fact Sheet


Ford $500 Bonus Cash!

Rhode Island Farm Bureau (RIFB) is pleased to announce the newest member benefit. Farm Bureau members in Rhode Island can now receive a $500 Bonus Cash offer from Ford Motor Company on a purchase or lease of a new qualifying vehicle.  Please click here for more information.  Click here to print your certificate.  


SUPPORT THE NEW CLEAN WATER RULE:

Take a Stand for Clean Water and Clear Rules

EPA has proposed a revised definition of “waters of the United States,” which would clarify regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act. You would not need a lawyer or consultant to know what is, and what is not, regulated.

Farmers know best when it comes to enhancing the environment they rely on. Good farming and a good environment go hand in hand! That’s why we need both clean water and clear rules.

Farmers and ranchers care about clean water and work hard to protect our natural resources. As farmers and ranchers continue to reduce the environmental footprint of farming and ranching, they need a new common-sense water rule that protects water quality and gives them clear rules they can follow.

Click here to learn more about the new Clean Water Rule.

Click here to go to American Farm Bureau’s page about the Clean Water Rule.  You can send a comment to the EPA, and if you do, please edit the text to make it your story.  Personal stories make the most impact.   

Langevin Bill to Support Agriculture Education Signed into Law

Legislation updates the FFA (formerly Future Farmers of America) charter to enable the organization to better serve its 669,000 student members.

WASHINGTON –President Trump has signed into law bipartisan legislation to modernize the charter of the National FFA Organization. The National FFA Organization’s Federal Charter Amendments Act was led by Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus (CTE) co-chairs Congressmen Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) in the House, and Senator Todd Young (R-IN) in the Senate.

“FFA has long been instrumental in preparing future generations of agricultural leaders in Rhode Island and in communities throughout the nation,” said Langevin. “I have seen the impact of education on the agriculture sector through interactions with my Food First Advisory Committee, and I have also seen the impact of the agriculture sector on our state’s economy. The updates in this bill will provide FFA with the tools to continue its important mission and better equip its student members for 21st Century careers. This bill reflects broad bipartisan consensus on the importance of FFA to the larger career and technical education landscape. I thank my colleagues from across the aisle, Congressman Thompson and Senator Young, for working with me to ensure a successful future for FFA.”

FFA is a federally-charted, non-profit organization that partners with the U.S. Departments of Education and Agriculture. Currently, FFA is the only organization with a federal charter required to have the majority of its board members selected by a partner government agency. The National FFA Organization’s Federal Charter Amendments Act grants FFA increased independence over the selection of its board to better reflect the diverse stakeholders in the organization while still maintaining the critical federal partnerships.

“High school students have benefited greatly from FFA’s agricultural education and training programs for decades,” said Henry B. Wright, President of the Rhode Island Farm Bureau“I commend Congressman Langevin and his colleagues for making these important updates to FFA that will further strengthen agriculture education for Rhode Islanders and students across the nation.”

“This is an important step for the future of FFA. The law now specifically recognizes the integral nature of FFA and agricultural education,” said Mark Poeschl, Chief Executive Officer of the National FFA Organization and Foundation. “We’re thankful for the support we received and look forward to our student delegates and board members having new opportunities and flexibility to grow our organization.”

The National FFA Organization’s Federal Charter Amendments Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives on January 22 and the U.S. Senate on February 5. It is the seventh bill to be signed into law this year.

Read the full text of the bill.

2019 Local Agriculture and Seafood Act (LASA) Grants Program

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Division of Agriculture is accepting grant applications for the Local Agriculture and Seafood Act Grant Program. The goal of the program, which was established by the Local Agriculture and Seafood Act (LASA) of 2012, is to support the growth, development, and marketing of local food and seafood in Rhode Island. It is made possible by $120,000 in funding from the State of Rhode Island. The total amount available for awards this year is significantly lower than in previous years due to the loss of private foundation funding. The number of projects funded will likely be smaller. Please plan a focused and efficient application. Deadline for submissions is Friday, March 8. For more information and an application click here.


2019 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

The RIDEM/Division of Agriculture is pleased to announce the award of $276,614 in Farm Viability grant funds for the purpose of enhancing the Competitiveness of Specialty Crops grown in Rhode Island.

Specialty crops are defined by this federally supported program as fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, and nursery crops including floriculture such as Christmas Trees, cut flowers, honey, hops, and turf grass production. Examples of enhancing the market competitiveness of specialty crops include, but are not limited to: Research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, plant health programs, education, “buy local” programs, increased consumption, increased innovation, improved efficiency and reduced costs of distribution systems, environmental concerns and conservation, product development, and developing cooperatives. Applications, accompanied by a W9 form, must be postmarked no later than March 31, 2019. For more information click here.

2018 AFBF Impact Report

impact would not have been possible without the strength of our engaged grassroots advocates, our state Farm Bureau peers, and our industry partners. The signing of the 2018 farm bill was symbolic of the impact we can have when agriculture works together to speak on behalf of U.S. farmers, ranchers and rural Americans.

Farm Bill Signed Thursday, December 20

On December 20, a group of AFBF representatives was invited to the Whitehouse to watch President Donald J. Trump sign the 2018 Farm Bill into law. AFBF President Zippy Duvall released the following comment:
“The Agriculture Improvement Act—H.R. 2—is now law. Enactment means risk management tools, foreign market development and environmental stewardship programs continue to be available, and on terms that reflect a much tougher farm economy than the one we faced when the last farm bill became law.
“The farm bill helps to ensure the food security and economic security of our nation. Directly or indirectly, it benefits everyone in towns large and small. This farm bill:
Brings another five years of certainty to farm and ranch families;
Upholds fiscal responsibility by being budget neutral;
Improves risk management programs;
Protects crop insurance;
Funds much-needed trade development;
Invests in the future with funding for ag research and beginning farmer programs; and
Continues nutrition assistance (three-quarters of total farm bill funding) for lower-income Americans.
“We are grateful to President Trump for his support. We also thank Chairmen Roberts and Conaway and Ranking Members Stabenow and Peterson for producing legislation that passed with strong, bi-partisan support. We look forward to working with Agriculture Secretary Perdue as he and his team at USDA implement this law and put new program provisions in place quickly.

As RIFB renewals are rolling out, remember to keep your membership current to maintain your American National* Insurance discount!

 American National offers a full line of insurance products through a local agent. That way they can help you ensure that your property and liability insurance needs are covered. So, whether it’s auto, home, life, farm or business insurance, you can feel confident you’re getting options to fit your lifestyle and budget.

Your current Rhode Island Farm Bureau membership entitles you to discounts on:

– 5% discount for personal auto
– 3%  discount for the SFP, including Country Estate Insurance
– 3% BOP discount up to $100. (Certain classes not eligible for the discount, ask your agent.)

Contact your American National agent to make sure you are getting the best discount.

Not an American National Insurance customer? To find out more about American National Insurance, click the following link to find an agent near you.  www.americannational.com.

*Previously know as Farm Family under the American National umbrella.


RI Sales Tax Exemption on Seeds and Plants

Late this spring we had several calls  regarding the Sales Tax Exemption on Seeds and Plants.  We are happy to say that after considerable work trying to get seeds and plants used to grow food and food ingredients exempted from the state sales tax, the following changes were passed in last year’s state budget. State Budget link here. Page 178, lines 11-14.

Here is the much abbreviated, relevant text.
 
TITLE 44
Taxation
CHAPTER 44-18
Sales and Use Taxes – Liability and Computation
SECTION 44-18-30
 
§ 44-18-30. Gross receipts exempt from sales and use taxes
 
There are exempted from the taxes imposed by this chapter the following gross receipts:
 
(65) Seeds and plants used to grow food and food ingredients. From the sale, storage, use, or other consumption in this state of seeds and plants used to grow food and food ingredients as defined in § 44-18-7.1(l)(i). “Seeds and plants used to grow food and food ingredients” shall not include marijuana seeds or plants.
 
44-18-7.1(l)(i).   “Food and food ingredients” means substances, whether in liquid, concentrated, solid, frozen, dried, or dehydrated form, that are sold for ingestion or chewing by humans and are consumed for their taste or nutritional value and seeds and plants used to grow food and food ingredients. “Food and food ingredients” does not include “alcoholic beverages”, “tobacco”, “candy”, “dietary supplements”, “soft drinks”, or “marijuana seeds or plants.”


THE PURPOSE OF THE RI FARM BUREAU

The Rhode Island Farm Bureau is an independent, non-governmental, voluntary organization of farm and ranch families united for the purpose of analyzing their problems and formulating action to achieve advancement and, thereby, to promote the national well-being.

Farm Bureau is local, county, state, national, and international in its scope and influence and is non-partisan, non-sectarian and non-secret in character. Farm Bureau is the voice of agricultural producers at all levels.

Statement from 1997 Policy Manual of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Support Rhode Island Farms by joining the Rhode Island Farm Bureau.

Your Membership in RIFB entitles you to …

  • A complete line of insurance services through the Farm Family Insurance Companies
    Discounts available on Automobile, Special Farm Packages (inc. Country Estate) & BOP
  • Discounts on Case IH, CAT, Dungarees.com, Grainger and John Deere
  • Discount on prescription lenses and frames through Coast to Coast Vision Plan
  • Discount at participating Choice hotels and Wyndham hotels
  • Discounts from Avis and Budget.
  • Thousands of additional discounts when you use your membership number and log into Access Benefits.

Click here to learn more about RIFB membership benefits.