Monday, October 05, 2015

EPA Strengthens Ozone Standards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has strengthened the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone to 70 parts per billion (ppb) from 75 ppb to protect public health. The updated standards will reduce Americans’ exposure to ozone, improving public health protection, particularly for at risk groups including children, older adults, and people of all ages who have lung diseases such as asthma. Ground-level ozone forms when nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) react in the air.
EPA examined nearly 2,300 studies in this review of the ozone standards including more than 1,000 new studies published since the last review of the standards in 2008. Scientific evidence shows that ozone can cause a number of harmful effects on the respiratory system, including difficulty breathing and inflammation of the airways.
The revised standards could significantly improve public health protection, resulting in fewer premature deaths, and thousands fewer missed school and work days and asthma attacks. For people with lung diseases like COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or the 23 million Americans and 6 million children living with asthma, these effects can aggravate their diseases, leading to increased medication use, emergency room visits and hospital admissions. Evidence also indicates that long-term exposure to ozone is likely to be one of many causes of asthma development. And studies show that ozone exposure is likely to cause premature death.  The public health benefits of the updated standards, estimated at $2.9 to 5.9 billion annually in 2025, outweigh the estimated annual costs of $1.4 billion. 
Local communities, states, and the federal government have made substantial progress in reducing ground-level ozone. Nationally, from 1980 to 2014, average ozone levels have fallen 33 percent, while the economy has continued to grow. 
To ensure that people are alerted when ozone reaches unhealthy levels, EPA is extending the ozone monitoring season for 32 states and the District of Columbia. This is particularly important for at-risk groups, including children and people with asthma because it will provide information so families can take steps to protect their health on smoggy days. 
EPA also is strengthening the “secondary ozone standard” to 70 ppb, which will improve protection for trees, plants and ecosystems. New studies since the last review of the standards add to evidence showing that repeated exposure to ozone reduces growth and has other harmful effects on plants and trees. These types of effects have the potential to harm ecosystems and the benefits they provide. 
The Clean Air Act provides states with time to meet the standards. Depending on the severity of their ozone problem, areas would have until between 2020 and 2037 to meet the standards.
The Clean Air Act requires EPA to review the ozone standards every five years to determine whether they should be revised in light of the latest science. Today’s action comes after a thorough review and public comment process.  The agency received more than 430,000 written comments on the proposed standards and held three public hearings. 

25th Annual National Black Farmers Association Conference

November 6-7, 2015

Holiday Inn Birmingham Airport Hotel
5000 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd N
Birmingham, AL 35212
Room Reservations Call (205) 691-6900 Code: NBFA Rate: $69/night
Free Conference Registration
National Black Farmers Association
"Growing Opportunities For Farmers"
Our goal is to strengthen the capability to provide support for small, limited resource and socially disadvantaged farmers, ranchers and landowners. Farmers will have the opportunity to share and evaluate materials and programs from around the country that are successful.
About the National Black Farmers Association 
The National Black Farmers Association (NBFA) is a non-profit organization representing African American farmers and their families in the United States. As an association, it serves tens of thousands of members nationwide. NBFA's education and advocacy efforts have been focused on civil rights, land retention, access to public and private loans, education and agricultural training, and rural economic development for black and other small farmers.
The 25th Annual National Black Farmers Association Conference is an interactive two day program giving you practical knowledge and techniques to enhance your skills and networking, and financial resource capabilities for small, limited resource and socially disadvantaged farmers, ranchers and landowners. The presentations will focus on providing information on Agricultural programs and techniques in the areas of farm credit and financing, networking, communications, skills, legal and social services, farm management teaching tools, International markets, and many more. Sessions will feature a variety of speakers followed by an opportunity to interact one-on-one with presenters from the US government, private companies, and non-profit organizations. Several parts of the United States government regulate activities that impact agriculture (United States Department of Agriculture, United States Department of Commerce, United States Department of Interior, United States Food and Drug Administration, United States Environmental Protection Agency, and United States Department of Health & Human Services.
Below are the areas which we see US Government Agencies, Non-profit Organizations, and Advocacy and Social Justice groups assisting us in facilitation, program materials, break-out sessions, financial scholarships for New, Beginning and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers.
Financial Management      Forestry Incentives and Cost Share
Alternate Crops                 Livestock Production
Risk Management             Retirement and Estate Planning
Agribusiness                     Consumer and Small Business Banking
Marketing Strategies         Environmental Conservation and Protection
Farm Diversification         Accessing Farm Credit
Crop Subsidies                  Establishing Cooperatives
Rural Housing                   New Technology in Agriculture
Youth in Farming              Benefit of USDA Service Centers 
Seed Availability               Effects of New Farm Bill 
Financial Literacy             Food and Nutrition Services (SNAP)
The National Black Farmers Association (NBFA) appreciates your support. Please contact Dr. John Boyd, Jr. at (804) 691-8528 if you would like to a Sponsor or Exhibitor.
Online Conference Registration: 
Friday, November 6, 2015 – "Growing Opportunities For Farmers"
  8:00 am - 12:00 pm     Conference Registration
  9:00 am - 10:00 am     General Assembly 1 Greeting - TBD
                                   Welcome - Dr. John Wesley Boyd, Jr., NBFA Founder & President
                                   Keynote Speaker: Invited - USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack
10:00 am - 12:00 pm     Session I - Intro to Farming (USDA 101) - Kara Boyd, NBFA
                                   Program Coordinator; FSA (Latrice Hill, USDA, FSA Director of
                                   Outreach), Ag Census Update  (TBD, USDA, NASS)
12:00 pm -   1:00 pm     Luncheon Keynote Speaker -
                                   Invited Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL)    
  1:00 pm -   1:45 pm    Session II  - AgrAbility (Chuck Baldwin, NAP Special Populations
                                  Outreach Coordinator, Purdue University) & Veterans in Ag (TBD)
  2:00 pm -   2:45 pm    Session III - Agricultural Advanced Technology - Pioneer (TBD)
  3:00 pm -   3:45 pm    Session IV - Financial Readiness for Farmers - PNC, CapitalOne
  4:00 pm -   5:00 pm    Session V - Update on AGOA & Cuban Trade/Agriculture - FAS 
  5:00 pm -   7:00 pm    Indigenous Dinner (host - Association of American Indian
                                  Farmers) - (Panelist - TBD)
  7:00 pm -   9:00 pm   Growing Galore (host - National Womens Farming Association &
                                  Our Girls Enrichment Program) (Guest of Honor Jupiter Strong)
Saturday, November 7, 2015 – "Growing Opportunities For Farmers"
   8:00 am - 12:00 pm    Conference Registration
   9:00 am - 10:45 am    Welcome - Dr. John Wesley Boyd, Jr.
                                   Greetings - TBD
                                   General Assembly II – USDA Lawsuit & Settlement Updates
                                   (Kara Boyd, President, AAIF & Dr. John Boyd, President NBFA)
11:00 am - 12:00 pm     Session VI - Environmental Regulations and Risks Facing
                                   Farmers (TBD - EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy)
12:00 pm -   1:00 pm     Luncheon Keynote Speaker
                                   Invited Congressman John Lewis (D-GA)
  1:00 pm -   2:00 pm    Session VII - USDA/NRCS & USDA/Forest Service (TBD)
  2:00 pm -   2:45 pm    Session VIII - USDA/APHIS (Kenneth E. Johnson, USDA, APHIS,
                                  OCRDI Director) & ASPCA (TBD - Nancy Perry)
  3:00 pm -   5:00 pm    Session IX - SNAP EBT - Farmer Market's Sign Up
  7:00 pm -   9:00 pm    25th Annual NBFA Awards Banquet
                                  Greetings - TBD
                                  Welcome - Dr. John Wesley Boyd, Jr.
                                  Keynote Speaker - (Invited – President Barack Obama)