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The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has listed information about the farm bill, which drives federal spending for farm, nutrition and conservation programs and is up for renewal in 2012. In 2010 alone, farm bill programs spent $96.3 billion.

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The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is preparing to contact farmers who grow organic crops and livestock for the first Organic Production Survey.

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The USDA-ARS New England Plant, Soil, and Water Lab, by the way, has been helping organic farmers for some time and is promoting sustainable agriculture through fact sheets, a CD on potato cropping systems, and more. It would like to conduct even more research into organic systems on a 170-acre site in Unity.

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In May, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment to its 2007 Agriculture Appropriations Bill increasing funds for the USDA Organic Transitions research program from $1.8 million to $5 million for the next fiscal year.

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The voluntary Conservation Security Program (CSP) supports stewardship of agricultural lands and natural resources. This year, eight Maine farmers were approved for contracts in the CSP.

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