NB_440_21_32 - NB 440-21-32 PGM – Establishing a State Technical Committee Subcommittee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Issues
NB 440-21-32 PGM – Establishing a State Technical Committee Subcommittee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Issues
National Bulletin: 440-21-32 Date: September 15, 2021
Subject: PGM – Establishing a State Technical Committee Subcommittee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Issues 

Purpose.   To inform State conservationists and Caribbean and Pacific Island Area directors on the recommended opportunity for each State to establish a new State Technical Committee subcommittee, which will focus on urban agriculture and innovative production issues that may emerge in the implementation of the Farm Bill conservation programs. The primary purpose of this new subcommittee will be to foster and promote urban agriculture within the State by supporting urban farmers and partners who are working to develop, implement, and promote new and innovative practices and address natural resource concerns on urban and small-scale farms. This subcommittee will also support the local, regional, and national objectives established under Section 12302 of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill).  
Expiration Date.   September 30, 2022   
Background.   Background. The creation of the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUAIP) authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill is an impetus for increased public inquiry about programs and services related to urban agriculture across USDA. The promotion of urban agriculture is one of the priorities of the administration, and NRCS conservation programs support this priority at the local level. For these reasons, State conservationists are encouraged to establish subcommittees focusing on gathering input from stakeholders on planning and implementing urban agricultural conservation.

Note: This national bulletin (NB) supersedes NB 440-21-31. This national bulletin is to clarify that subcommittees should be focused on authorities granted to the NRCS and be chaired by the State Conservationist or designated conservationist and not a Designated Federal Official.

Explanation.  This national bulletin provides guidance for States to consider when establishing a new subcommittee for the State Technical Committee authorized by Subtitle G of Title XII of the Food Security Act. For example, under the 2018 Farm Bill, the Secretary was authorized to establish OUAIP with the mission of working department-wide to encourage and promote urban, indoor, and other emerging agricultural practices to support urban, suburban, and urban cluster agriculture. Nationally, a growing urban agricultural economy is emerging to address the needs of underserved and low-income communities. Urban agriculture is also getting increased attention because of initiatives to create more resilient local and regional food systems and to promote climate smart agriculture practices. With the immense interest in urban agriculture, it is recommended that each State conservationist establish a subcommittee to assist NRCS with implementation of its conservation programs. The responsibilities each subcommittee may include:

1. Identifying local urban agriculture needs, emerging practices, resource concerns, and potential partnering entities to support urban, small-scale, and innovative production;

2. Identifying local barriers to successful implementation of conservation strategies by urban, small-scale, and innovative agriculture, especially for new and beginning farmers;

3. Building a statewide partnership of experts to discuss and examine technical or programmatic topics related to resource concerns and conservation strategies in urban, small-scale, and innovative production;

4. Evaluating and reviewing ongoing innovations in agriculture production and conservation and extension activities relating to urban and community agriculture, including compost, food waste reduction, and innovative production;

5. Developing recommendations on outreach strategies that meet the unique and complex conservation issues facing producers in urban environments;

6. Assessing natural resource priorities for urban agriculture and providing recommendations for conservation practices to help NRCS meet the needs of local urban and small-scale producers;

7. Advising the State conservationist on policies to improve participation in NRCS conservation programs among urban, innovative, and small-scale producers locally, regionally, and nationally;

8. Supporting local pilot project missions and deliverables by offering advice and facilitating connections with experts and partners who can lend assistance; and

9. Providing additional relevant assistance and advice to the State Conservationist.

States that establish the recommended subcommittees are to follow guidance outlined in Title 440, Conservation Programs Manual, Part 501, Subpart C, “State Technical Committees,” including membership and diversity requirements.

It is recommended that the respective State conservationist or designated conservationist serve as chair of the subcommittee. As such, States that establish the subcommittee as recommend through the issuance of this national bulletin should provide a copy of the charter to the Regional Conservationists Office.

Contact.   For more information, or if you have questions, please contact the respective regional conservationist or representative.


Interim Director of the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production

Deputy Chief for Management and Strategy

Deputy Chief for Programs

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