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Agriculture: Information from Federal, State and Local Sources

Links to federal, state, and local agencies that provide assistance, support, and information to the agricultural community.
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Federal sources:

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  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
    • National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) - The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), part of the executive branch of the Federal Government. Congress created NIFA through the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. NIFA replaced the former Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), which had been in existence since 1994.
      • Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) - Since 1988, the SARE grants and education program has advanced agricultural innovation that promotes profitability, stewardship of the land, air and water, and quality of life for farmers, ranchers and their communities.
    • Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) - The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is the primary federal agency that works with private landowners to help them conserve, maintain and improve their natural resources. The Agency emphasizes voluntary, science-based conservation; technical assistance; partnerships; incentive-based programs; and cooperative problem solving at the community level.
    • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) - The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is responsible for protecting and promoting U.S. agricultural health, administering the Animal Welfare Act, and carrying out wildlife damage management activities.
    • Agriculture Research Service(ARS) - The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the USDA's chief scientific in-house research agency. Their job is finding solutions to agricultural problems that affect Americans every day from field to table.
    • Forest Service (FS) - The Forest Service administers programs for applying sound conservation and utilization practices to natural resources of the national forests and national grasslands, for promoting these practices on all forest lands through cooperation with states and private landowners, and for carrying out extensive forest and range research.
  • United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) - The BLM’s multiple-use mission is set forth in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. The Act mandates that they manage public land resources for a variety of uses, such as energy development, livestock grazing, recreation, and timber harvesting.  The Act also mandates that the BLM protect a wide array of natural, cultural, and historical resources, many of which are found in the BLM's 27 million-acre National Landscape Conservation System. The conservation system includes 221 Wilderness Areas totaling 8.7 million acres, as well as 16 National Monuments comprising 4.8 million acres.
    • Management of Livestock Grazing - The Bureau of Land Management manages livestock grazing on 155 million acres of land, as guided by Federal law. The terms and conditions for grazing on BLM-managed lands are set forth in the permits and leases issued by the Bureau to public land ranchers. The permits and leases also contain stipulations on forage use and and season of use. 
  • United States Geological Survey (USGS) - The USGS is a science organization that provides impartial information on the health of our ecosystems and environment, the natural hazards that threaten us, the natural resources we rely on, the impacts of climate and land-use change, and the core science systems that help us provide timely, relevant, and useable information.
  • United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.

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State, territorial and tribal sources:

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National associations:

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Land grant universities and other sources:

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  • eXtension.org - eXtension is an interactive learning environment delivering the best, most researched knowledge from the best land-grant university minds across America. eXtension connects knowledge consumers with knowledge providers - experts who know their subject matter inside out.
  • Compliance Assistance Centers - Compliance Assistance Centers help businesses, colleges and universities, local governments, tribes and federal facilities understand and comply with environmental requirements and save money through pollution prevention techniques. 
  • National Alliance of Independant Crop Consultants (NAICC) - Founded in 1978, NAICC is the national society of agricultural professionals who provide research and advisory services to clients for a fee. The 700+ members work from bases in 40 states and several foreign countries, and have expertise in the production of most crops grown around the world. The Alliance is comprised of several kinds of members.  Independent crop consultants provide a full range of services to growers in integrated crop and farm management programs, working directly with farmers on a daily basis, advising them in areas such as watershed management, integrated pest management, animal waste management, global information systems technology, and research trials. The primary mission of these professionals is implementing scientific and technological advances to enhance environmental sustainability and profitability on clients’ farms.
  • The Source Water Collaborative - Twenty-six national organizations have united to protect America’s drinking water at the source – in the lakes, rivers, streams and aquifers we tap for drinking purposes. The Source Water Collaborative (SWC) was originally formed in 2006 with the goal to combine the strengths and tools of a diverse set of member organizations to act now, and protect drinking water sources for generations to come. Comprised of federal, state, and local partners, the SWC has come together to further the goals of protecting sources of drinking water – recognizing that resources are extremely limited, authorities are split, and the actors who can actually protect source waters are diffuse.

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More information from EPA:

  • Compliance - In partnership with state governments, tribal governments and other federal agencies, EPA works to assure compliance with the nation's environmental laws to help protect public health and the environment.
  • Introduction to Agriculture: Ag 101

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