BARNYARD BRIEFS: Peanut farmers donate to Harvest Hope
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BARNYARD BRIEFS

BARNYARD BRIEFS: Peanut farmers donate to Harvest Hope

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COLUMBIA – South Carolina peanut farmers are donating 8,640 jars of peanut butter to Harvest Hope Food Bank.

The six pallets of peanut butter were made by Peanut Proud, a charitable organization sponsored by the peanut industry, and purchased by the South Carolina Peanut Board.

Nutritious and shelf stable, peanut butter is one of the most frequently requested items at food banks.

“South Carolina’s peanut farmers are helping their neighbors during the COVID-19 outbreak with this generous donation,” said Marianne Copelan, marketing specialist with the South Carolina Peanut Board. “Many families are seeking out this tasty, healthy, nonperishable food during this difficult time, and manufacturers are producing ample amounts of peanut butter to meet high consumer demand.”

Peanuts are one of South Carolina’s most important crops. South Carolina peanut farmers planted 65,000 acres of peanuts that produced 247 million pounds last year. There are more than 475 peanut farms in South Carolina, many of them in the Midlands.

Urban agriculture grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the availability of $3 million for grants through its new Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production.

The competitive grants will support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production projects through two categories, Planning Projects and Implementation Projects. USDA will accept applications on Grants.gov until midnight July 6.

USDA also announced the availability of $900,000 for local governments to host a Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction (CCFWR) pilot project for fiscal year 2020. The cooperative agreements will support projects that develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans. The agreements are offered through USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production.

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In addition, the USDA is now accepting new or modified proposals from state governments for its State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) Initiative. Through SAFE, vital habitat is restored to meet high-priority state wildlife conservation goals. The deadline to submit proposals is June 19.

Economic injury disaster loans

WASHINGTON – U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza announced that agricultural businesses are now eligible for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan and EIDL Advance programs.

SBA’s EIDL portal is open as a result of funding authorized by Congress through the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act. The legislation provided additional funding for farmers and ranchers and certain other agricultural businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

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“For more than 30 years, SBA has been prohibited by law from providing disaster assistance to agricultural businesses; however, as a result of the unprecedented legislation enacted by President Trump, American farmers, ranchers and other agricultural businesses will now have access to emergency working capital,” Carranza said. “These low-interest, long-term loans will help keep agricultural businesses viable while bringing stability to the nation’s vitally important food supply chains.”

For more information, please visit: www.sba.gov/Disaster.

$100M for biofuels infrastructure

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture intends to make available up to $100 million in competitive grants for activities designed to expand the availability and sale of renewable fuels.

“America’s energy independence is critical to our economic security, and President Trump fully recognizes the importance of our ethanol and biofuels industries and the positive impacts they deliver to consumers and farmers with an affordable, abundant, and clean burning fuel,” Perdue said. “American ethanol and biofuel producers have been affected by decreased energy demands due to the coronavirus, and these grants to expand their availability will help increase their use during our economic resurgence.”

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The Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program consists of up to $100 million in funding for competitive grants or sales incentives to eligible entities for activities designed to expand the sales and use of ethanol and biodiesel fuels. Funds will be made directly available to assist transportation fueling and biodiesel distribution facilities with converting to higher ethanol and biodiesel blends by sharing the costs related to and/or offering sales incentives for the installation of fuel pumps, related equipment, and infrastructure.

For application information and other program details, see the public inspection notice in the Federal Register (PDF, 369 KB), or visit the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program web page.

USDA outlines telehealth service

U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary Bette Brand released a summary of key service changes to increase the use of telehealth in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These measures include allowing rural health clinics and federally qualified health centers to serve as “distant site” providers, increasing the types of services that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services can deliver via telehealth, and allowing certain telehealth services to be delivered to Medicare recipients by phone.

Telehealth uses technology such as mobile phones or computers to deliver health care.

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