Thursday, January 31, 2019

USDA Awards Agricultural Trade Promotion Program Funding

USDA Awards Agricultural Trade Promotion Program Funding

(Washington, D.C., January 31, 2019) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded $200 million to 57 organizations through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) to help U.S. farmers and ranchers identify and access new export markets. The ATP is one of three USDA programs created to mitigate the effects of unjustified trade retaliation against U.S. farmers and exporters. USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) accepted ATP applications between September 4 and November 2 – totaling nearly $600 million – from U.S. trade associations, cooperatives, and other industry-affiliated organizations. USDA has released a list of the ATP funding recipients.
President Donald J. Trump authorized up to $12 billion in programs to provide assistance to U.S. agriculture through a trade mitigation package announced by Secretary Perdue on September 4, 2018. In addition to the $200 million allocated to the ATP, the package also included the Market Facilitation Program to provide payments to farmers harmed by retaliatory tariffs, and a food purchase and distribution program to assist producers of targeted commodities.
“At USDA, we are always looking to expand existing markets or open new ones, so we are proud to make good on the third leg of the President’s promise to America’s farmers,” said Secretary Perdue. “This infusion will help us develop other markets and move us away from being dependent on one large customer for our agricultural products. This is seed money, leveraged by hundreds of millions of dollars from the private sector, that will help to increase our agricultural exports.”
All sectors of U.S. agriculture, including fish and forest product producers, were eligible to apply for cost-share assistance under the ATP. FAS evaluated applications according to criteria that included the potential for export growth in the target market, direct injury from the imposed retaliatory tariffs, and the likelihood that the proposed project or activity will have a near-term impact on agricultural exports.
“We were pleased to see the large demand for participation in the program, and truly got some out-of-the-box ideas that we are hopeful will expand our global footprint,” Perdue said. “We examined all applications carefully, considered our ranking criteria, and awarded the funds in order to make the best use of taxpayer dollars in growing agricultural trade.”

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

USDA to Reopen FSA Offices for Additional Services During Government Shutdown

USDA to Reopen FSA Offices for Additional Services During Government Shutdown

(Washington, D.C., January 22, 2019) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that all Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices nationwide will soon reopen to provide additional administrative services to farmers and ranchers during the lapse in federal funding.  Certain FSA offices have been providing limited services for existing loans and tax documents since January 17, and will continue to do so through January 23.  Beginning January 24, however, all FSA offices will open and offer a longer list of transactions they will accommodate.    

Additionally, Secretary Perdue announced that the deadline to apply for the Market Facilitation Program, which aids farmers harmed by unjustified retaliatory tariffs, has been extended to February 14.  The original deadline had been January 15.  Other program deadlines may be modified and will be announced as they are addressed.

“At President Trump’s direction, we have been working to alleviate the effects of the lapse in federal funding as best we can, and we are happy to announce the reopening of FSA offices for certain services,” Perdue said.  “The FSA provides vital support for farmers and ranchers and they count on those services being available.  We want to offer as much assistance as possible until the partial government shutdown is resolved.”

Monday, January 14, 2019

NMSU chile expert receives lifetime achievement award at International Pepper Conference

DATE: 01/14/2019
WRITER: Melissa R. Rutter, 575-646-4211,
CONTACT: Paul Bosland, 575-646-5171,
CONTACT: Stephanie Walker, 575-646-4398,

New Mexico State University Regents Professor of Horticulture, Distinguished Achievement Professor and Chile Pepper Institute Director Paul W. Bosland has been honored with the Lifetime Achievement award from the International Pepper Conference.

For more than 30 years, the International Pepper Conference has attracted prominent scientists in the industry and has become the premier venue for the dissemination and exchange of information on chile peppers.

Bosland was awarded the lifetime achievement award during the November conference held in Fort Myers, Florida.

“Of course, I joked, am I really old enough to get a lifetime achievement award?” Bosland said. “The International Pepper Conference presents the award out to individuals who have made significant worldwide impacts in chile pepper breeding and research of peppers and I was fortunate enough to be nominated by my peers and received it this time around.”

While Bosland is very honored to have received the award, he said he shares it with everyone who has been involved in his chile pepper program. This includes more than 30 graduate students who have studied under Bosland from across the world.

“Coming to NMSU is where I began my chile pepper career. To receive an award like this includes sharing it with many people in the program and with NMSU,” Bosland said. “You don’t really do something like this by yourself. You do it with a lot of people so I’m very fortunate to have had excellent students from all over the world in the past who have helped me to expand the chile pepper research agenda making something like this possible.”

One of the people involved in the program is NMSU Extension vegetable specialist Stephanie Walker. Bosland was a major adviser for Walker while she was studying for her graduate degrees.

“I was hooked on chile research when I attended the International Pepper Conference Paul hosted in 1994. I went on to get my master’s degree with him and then he accepted me into his program again when I decided to pursue my Ph.D,” Walker said. “I wouldn’t be here without Paul’s support of my research. He provided guidance in what I needed to do as an Extension vegetable specialist here at NMSU.”

Bosland was first hired by NMSU as a vegetable breeder, but he later decided to spend his whole career on chile peppers. During this time, Bosland has achieved many things and really made a name for himself and NMSU’s chile pepper program.

“We got an Ig Nobel from Harvard (in 1999) for producing a no-heat jalapeno where there was a real need from the food industry,” Bosland said. “Our annual Chile Pepper Institute Teaching Garden is a big success. We plant more than 150 different types of chile peppers every year and we have thousands of students and visitors coming by every year. Then we have our New Mexico Chile Conference, which we’ve been holding for 37 years and it’s still the biggest conference for chiles in the world, even bigger than the international conference.”

Other achievements include a partnership with CaJohns Fiery Foods, a company from Ohio that helped develop NMSU’s Holy Jolokia line of products. Bosland said collaborating with people from all over the world, such as China, Korea, Thailand, Europe and all the Americas, has resulted in many discoveries about chile peppers.

Walker recalls many times when Bosland would provide hands-on teaching in the field and greenhouse to show her and other students what they needed to know.

“He would point out disease or virus symptoms so that we could quickly recognize them in the future,” Walker said. “In the greenhouse, he would show us best management practices and provide guidance in keeping it free of pests and diseases. Being around him and interacting with him provided a constant learning experience. He knows so much, and, if you’re receptive to his feedback, you can get a great education in chiles and horticulture in general.”

Walker said Bosland is well respected by chile researchers around the world.

“Some of his graduate students have been amazing and because of his high profile he has attracted the best and brightest from all around the world. He has greatly contributed to the chile community,” Walker said. “Paul is internationally recognized for his work. This lifetime achievement award was highly deserved.”