The importance of farming and agriculture has become increasingly evident as we make our way through these uncertain times and have deemed food and agriculture as essential critical infrastructure during this COVID-19 crisis. Similarly, the first Farm Bill was created in 1933 to help provide relief during the Great Depression to U.S. Farmers. Now, Congress passes a new Farm Bill periodically about every five years that shapes our food system as a whole with titles ranging from food and nutrition to agricultural research to rural development to conservation to forestry and so much more.
The latest Farm Bill or Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 was signed into law on December 20, 2018. There are many opportunities for agricultural producers to save energy, water, and money by leveraging NRCS programs under the new Farm Bill, but many producers are unaware that these opportunities exist, don’t know how to get started to access these opportunities, and/or need technical assistance in navigating the programs.
For the first time, beginning this year in 2020, the EarthWays Center of Missouri Botanical Garden has been proactively branching out throughout Missouri to offer Farm Bill Outreach Workshops. These workshops are being funded by a grant from the Missouri Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and are vital in helping promote public awareness of NRCS programs under the Farm Bill and further the development of NRCS relationships with its conservation partners and participants who can benefit from these programs. Our diverse team which includes the Missouri Botanical Garden, GDS Associates, Inc. (GDS), and the University of Missouri - Extension (MU Extension) is providing information, education and technical assistance on energy and water efficiency incentives in the Farm Bill to under served farming agricultural producers throughout Missouri in an attempt to alleviate barriers for wider audiences to participate in these programs. These workshops and technical assistance support are designed to not only provide important program information to producers across the state, but also increase the number of producers participating in energy and water efficiency programs available through the NRCS.
To learn more about the Farm Bill and financial and technical assistance offered through the NRCS visit the USDA NRCS Farm Bill page. Interested in growing your own food and not sure where to start? Watch this "Resilience Gardens" video by Custom Foodscaping and get further instruction and inspiration on the Garden's Gardening Help page.